Sassy Women Shooting

I forgot how much I love directing! I have not directed a major production since fall of 2015 (yay Death at the Opera!). This weekend, however, I had the privilege of working with a talented crew of people creating beautiful art.

Sassy Women is about Callie, a wild young thing with a tongue as sharp as barbed wire who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and stumbles through life with her head held high. Her landlord and housemate, Ellen, sees her potential and tries to invest in Callie, illiciting contempt. When a charming cowboy comes into the picture, Callie’s wayward path may lead her into despair.

I am very excited about this production. My actors and actresses are all extraordinarily talented. I am going to start cutting it tomorrow and can’t wait.

Here are some pictures from the shoot:

 

 

Film Noir Shoot

My latest project, which I’m very excited about is a short video I am completing for one of my last film classes. My original plan was to film a short in a car, but underestimated the difficulty of doing this without a steady cam. Due to time constraints, I threw together a quick film noir using my sister and fiance as talent. It was so much fun to experiment with this film style.

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Travel Tips 101

While I have not been traveling for very long (my first time on a jet plane was a year ago), I have traveled very far. Last March I spent over two weeks in Shenzen, China and last summer I spent three months roaming Europe and Britain (spending extensive time in Kosovo and England). I backpacked around alone for a good deal of that time.

During these trips I have experienced everything from fourteen-hour flights, to fourty-eight hour jaunts with little to no sleep (so I could save money on cheap flights), to midnight train rides. All of this has taught me a couple of things about travel.

  • You need less clothing than you think you need.
    • seriously – only two pairs of jeans
  • That being said…pack a lot of underwear and tank tops.
    • You can snuggle them into the empty places in your baggage and if you don’t have time to bathe/change a whole outfit this will cut down on BO…
  • Peppermint oil is a lifesaver.
    • Perfect for a musty/stinky hostel room, freshening up in an airport bathroom (cuts through body odor), and for sprinkling in baggage so clothes don’t smell stale. I bought the cheap kind from a healthfood store because I wasn’t ingesting it. Young Living sells high-quality if you want to use it more extensively (my friend is a distributor here).
  • Put some dry shampoo in a small, empty spice bottle.
    • No one wants to feel like a greasy preteen when hopping off a plane.
  • Dark chocolate
    • Harry Potter uses it as a dementor remedy, I use it as a pick-me-up for jet lag. There will be long periods you have nothing to eat, you are bone tired, or you feel like you are about to break down in a Turkish airport…dark chocolate fixes all of these things.
  • Workaway is your friend for inexpensive lodging worldwide.
    • Check out my post about it here.
  • Wizz air is a wonderful site for finding cheap European flights.
    • These are not ritzy flights, fyi. Also, I would recommend checking in online.
  • Skyscanner is another way to look for cheap flights.
    • There is a feature on here where they send alerts to your email for low-priced flights. Research the airlines, though, as not all airlines are safe to fly with.
  • Eastern Europe is way less expensive than Western Europe.
    • While not as glamorous as touring Italy or France, the countries in Eastern Europe (think Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, etc) are wonderful areas. They can be a trifle sketchy (this was a war-torn area for many years, and in some places is still dangerous) but it’s honestly not bad if you research your location slightly to know the dos and don’ts. Also, the people in these areas are incredibly hospitable, and the prices simply cannot be beat. In Kosovo my cost of groceries for six weeks was lower than the cost of my plane ticket from England. Also, as a treat for a couple nights, I stayed in two hotels and spent only 30 euro a night…the price of a hostel bed in Venice…

So there you have it, a couple of quick tips. Comment with your own travel tips or questions!

Mural Work in Kosovo

As mentioned before in my post on Workaway, I spent six weeks volunteering at a hostel in Kosovo. I’ll post more on the actual city on a later date, but I want to dedicate this post to one of my tasks while I was there – painting a mural on the outdoor bar.

Buffalo Backpackers, is a hostel run by a Texan and an Albanian. The two, Chelsea and Xili, have a network of friends in the area and encourage immersion into the unique culture of Pristina, Kosovo — a city primarily composed of young adults. They also encourage artists to come to their hostel and paint murals on empty walls, or in this case, empty bars.

I was painting a structure that is in the back garden – a fun, bohemian area with a fire pit and many hammocks. The bar originally looked like this:

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It was built by a previous volunteer and was a really fun little structure, but obviously lacked aesthetic appeal. After looking at the structure I started out with some simple sketches:

I showed these to Chelsea and we fleshed out the idea to a full-blown plan. Luckily, her and I shared a similar penchant for bohemian cowgirl artwork.

The extent of my experience with acrylics was primarily bound to sets I had painted in high school under the supervision of a professional artist, Alisa Lincoln, so I did some research before putting brush to wall. After much googling and even more sanding on the part of myself and other hostel volunteers, I dove in.

Armed with a spray bottle, a brush, a washcloth and some sweatpants, I started in on the sky:

In this picture I blocked out where my cowgirl, stars, cacti, and moon will be. It was an incredibly fun and fast-paced part of the painting because, between the heat and the fast-drying properties of the acrylic paint, I had to move fast to get the look I wanted.

Next, I filled in the cacti with a very dark green and blended the stars to give them a more dreamy, hazy look.

Then came more googling. Because of our limited budget, the majority of paints I had were primary colors, so I had to mix everything. This provided some trouble when I wanted to do skin tones. After some research, I was able to get a believable light skin color:

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(as you can see, I snapped this one)

This also involved a lot of quick work, as to achieve the proper texture I needed to blend the paint while wet. My spray bottle was a lifesaver here.

After finishing her face, I filled in her hat and her shirt, and did a bit more detailing on her eye to really draw attention to it. Then came the most lengthy process: the hair.

I wanted to do the hair in rainbow colors to add a lot of color and pop to this corner of the garden. As mentioned before, though, I was mixing almost everything from primary colors. I really wanted a large variety of shades and hues, but this is sometimes difficult to achieve with a limited amount of mixable paint tubes. After many episodes of Gilmore Girls (listened to the show on my phone while I worked), I finally finished the hair:

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I was almost done. I added gold and silver to the stars, painted the moon, and did some details on the front of the bar. I spent another couple hours putting mandala-style artwork on the top of the bar:

And then I was done!

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If you’re looking to do some acrylic painting yourself, here are some websites that helped me:

https://www.art-is-fun.com/mixing-colors

http://painting.about.com/od/paintingforbeginners/fl/Top-Acrylic-Painting-Tips-for-Beginners.htm

Links to info on Alisa Lincoln:

www.wildpoppystudios.com

www.facebook.com/alisa.lincoln.art

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Cool Thing O’ the Week: Workaway

Sadly many of us assume we are too poor to live up to the glory of our travel Pinterest boards.

However, lucky for the broke drifters of the world, there are many ways to cut out travel expenses. One of the best ways to do this is to work in a hostel. The benefits are two-fold: not only do most of these opportunities offer free lodging, they also offer incredible opportunities to connect with people.

There are bunches of websites devoted to telling the stories of people who worked in hostels, but not a lot dedicated to actually finding work. To make matters more complicated, many European hostels only accept people with a European passport or work permit. Because of this, the months before leaving for Europe I spent hours in front of my computer, trying to find somewhere to stay for two months.

I had stumbled across Workaway a couple of times but didn’t want to pay for the initial fee. My fiance finally signed me up and footed the twenty bucks while I was bumming with friends in England. It was totally worth it, in a short time I had a place to work in Kosovo (Buffalo Backpackers).

Workaway has an incredible setup, you choose where you want to go and can look at reviews left by other workers. The opportunities offered vary beyond just working at hostels, you can teach English to children or help out in gardens. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants an adventure but doesn’t have any money. The website is www.workaway.info

(in speaking of travel blogs, check out my European travel Pinterest board with photos taken by yours truly)

Pinterest: Doodle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

I have been uploading my work to Pinterest slowly and started a public profile to consolidate the work. Check it out here!

During the month of January I am taking an intensive three-week class. The class involves three hour class periods every day and six hours of homework daily. Ahhhhh! But, bright side, the lectures are long so I have time to draw in the margins, thus the birth of my latest Pinterest board.

 

Cool Thing o’ the Week: Postmodern Jukebox

A friend of mine told me a couple of years ago about Postmodern Jukebox. I never got a chance to listen to the band until last spring when a client showed me PMJ’s version of All About That Bass.

Immediately I was struck by this group of people who cover modern songs in an old-fashioned style. As a fan of swing dancing, old musicals, and quirky music groups I was immediately hooked by the group. They cover songs from Madonna to Celine Dion.

Check out their YouTube channel or their website, you won’t be disappointed. s