Posts Tagged ‘short film’

Accident in Competition

So, I submitted my little short film, “Accident” to this website called “The Audience Awards” in the “Dramatic Short Video” category. They run various contests and this category seemed to be a good fit for my film. The contest ran for 10 days beginning 2/20 and ending 2/29 at 7 PM. I shared the contest on Facebook and surprisingly, I noticed a lot of people were sharing my post and helping me ask for votes. I wasn’t sure if my film would get close to the top but I had hopes that it would warrant at least a few votes from my friends.

By the 2nd day of the contest, we had been thrusted to 1st place somehow! That was incredible! Of course we eventually got knocked out of 1st place throughout different moments in the contest so I spent a lot of time spamming my own Facebook feed and eventually even annoying myself. By the middle of the contest, I started to think that it was a possibility that I might actually win, but how? I needed a strategy. I started looking at my competitors because if I wanted to win, I needed to know what I was up against. There were 29 films in the competition and while only 8 of them were made by women, only 1 was made by an Asian: me. That was it. That was going to be my hook. Wouldn’t it be great that out of all 29 films, it was an Asian American who won? If I was going to go hard, I knew this meant war. So I rounded up a team of players who were willing to go to battle with me and started developing my strategy.

These were my targets:

1) Share the credit of the film with my comedy troupe
2) Hook – The only Asian in the competition
3) Take advantage of the date/time of the end of the contest
4) Make my community care about us winning
5) Create a pool of reserves for the last day of the contest

As I started going down each of my targets, I started garnering more and more votes. It was at the point where people I don’t even talk to on Facebook were sharing my post and getting excited about the possibility of our filming winning. I was absolutely floored by the strength of my community and the depths they were going to help me. It was getting so exciting. By the 8th day of the contest, I had discovered a page on the website that allowed me to see who the voters were and it really took me by surprise. I discovered a lot of people that had not responded to my contest posts had voted for me, cheering me on in silence. And being in this contest also allowed me to receive a lot of feedback from friends, extended friends, acquaintances and strangers telling me how much they enjoyed my film and loved my story. It was that feedback that inspired me to continue telling stories.

After the disappointment of only 3 acceptances in the festival run I gave my film, this was really a turnaround point for me. I realized that regardless of whether or not I wrote a good story, it still felt really good to have created this. I love every single moment in my film and I enjoyed almost every aspect in creating it (ok, color correction is a bitch and I still can’t get that right but I’ve accepted that.) Plus, after asking Jason Marsden about this stuff, he more or less told me that this was actually completely normal so I decided to forge on.

By the last day of the contest, I hit target number 5. I created my pool of reserves and we all waited until the last 5 minutes to send in our votes. I felt like a cheetah hiding in the bushes, preying on my victim to surface so that I could POUNCE! When it was down to the last 10 minutes of the contest, I noticed a lot of people starting sharing my post and rallying others to vote and at this point, I hadn’t even sent out the green light to my reserves yet! So 4 minutes before the end of the contest, we all sent in our votes so when the last second hit, we won! It was so exciting! I was on pins & needles! The prize was $500 which I have decided I would put towards the next project of my comedy troupe. It was such an incredible feeling! There were internet hi-fives going all around, I’m sure. I was so excited that I made 3 donations to 3 different parties, including one homeless man. Gotta spread the love. I can’t wait to create my next project. Whatever it is, I hope it will be as awesome of an experience as “Accident” was for my heart & soul.

You can watch “Accident” here:

Two Cool Weekends

It was such a great experience last weekend to have my first short film, “Accident,” showcased at APAture 2015! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that focuses on Asian artists in film, comics, music, literary arts, This was actually the first event that I submitted to last year but I didn’t get in back then. My friend encouraged me to resubmit for this year and I’m really glad it got in this year. I’ve been submitting it since July 2014 and even up until now. It has been accepted into three festivals so far, including APAture. At first I was kind of bummed out that a lot of festivals did not accept it. However, I sent a message to Jason Marsden during the whole process and he reassured me that there is nothing wrong with that and to let it be a learning experience. I’ve really taken that to heart and I’m actually really happy now that it was accepted into APAture 2015. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I started with this festival so maybe I can end with this festival. No more submissions. They are costly and I’d really rather move on to my next project. Eventually, I will post my short film online and let the world judge it all they want. I love it and my opinion is the only one that really matters, right?

I did a Q&A afterwards…ok, I admit it. I HATE public speaking. Not that I don’t want to talk to people who saw my film. I’d LOVE to hear what they thought of it but being asked all these questions and being among my peers, I felt inferior, like I didn’t really belong there. People laughed at my answers. Maybe because of my delivery but I can’t help it. I hear it in my head and it comes out of my mouth differently than how I would have liked. It’s fine, I’m not mad. I don’t know how celebrities, teachers, politicians, etc. do it. Aren’t they afraid of saying something wrong? Or sounding like an idiot? Or being asked a question they don’t want to answer? I remember for the time before the screening and after I found out I had to do a Q&A, I told myself I wasn’t going to reveal the true inspiration for my film because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or angry. Then I thought, well what are the chances they would ask that question anyway? It’s played out. Sure enough, the first question was “What was your inspiration for your respective film?” Oh man. In my head, I reached for everything I could think of to make up. I wanted to scroll through my phone and find my director’s statement so I could remind myself what I wrote. Then I thought of something I say instead of the truth, that I was inspired by my peers because they have been so supportive of my creative work. So when it was my turn to speak, the truth just rolled off my tongue. “I had an angry conversation with my dad on the phone one day and well, if you can’t do it in real life, you do it on film.” Please don’t think I’m crazy. Here’s a picture.

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I just realized I’m not crazy. Just angry. Like Taylor Swift, writing about her ex-boyfriends and telling the world how she really feels. I guess the truth isn’t so bad. Ok, I’m rambling. Other eventful occurrences yesterday: Girl Meets Texas was a 3 part series this weekend. Damn, that’s good marketing! You know people like to binge on this kind of stuff. This love triangle thing is really suspenseful. I have to say I’m pretty blown away by how the producers have handled this situation. I know social media has given some insight as to which direction the GMW fans want it to go. It’s basically Rucas vs Lucaya. For anyone who doesn’t know, “Rucas” is the moniker for the highly anticipated Riley & Lucas union while “Lucaya” is the moniker for those who are team Maya & Lucas. The writers have been giving hints as to what might happen. They said the biggest clue was in the pilot. So, I went to Netflix and watched the pilot. Well, I started to anyway. Then I thought, maybe the clue is in the first conversation Maya had with Lucas where she compressed their whole faux relationship/breakup into 9 sentences. She said “You don’t pay enough attention to me” as one of those sentences. Well, from what I gather in Girl Meets Texas, I feel like while Lucas does pay attention to Maya, he pays more attention to Riley overall. So maybe everything is being played out in this arc, expanding on those 9 sentences throughout the season. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. For now. :0)

If you’re wondering which pair I’m in favor of(I refuse to use the word “ship”), I would have to say Lucas and Riley. After watching this 3-part melodrama, I feel like Riley and Lucas have been taking things slow. So slow, in fact, that no one even realized they were doing this. It’s like a silent “I like you, you like me but let’s be great friends first” kind of thing. I know some fans think Maya has more chemistry with Lucas but it just doesn’t seem like Lucas feels that way about Maya. I mean, he stopped himself from kissing Maya. If you had that chance with someone you liked, you go for it. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t lead someone on. And if they did kiss, that would be horrible. Maya and Riley’s friendship could change forever. Just because Maya thinks Riley loves Lucas like a brother doesn’t mean it’s actually true. Riley is obviously stepping back because she wants Maya to be happy and always puts others before herself. And judging from the dumbfounded & confused way Lucas reacted when Riley told him he was like a brother to her, he obviously thought they had a mutual crush thing going! I mean, come on…ok, I am way too invested in this. What’s going on?? I’m 38! Moving on…

Oh my gosh, I got to see my favorite band perform last night when they opened for Twenty One Pilots! They killed it!! I had such a great time watching them jam out on this big stage. They have always been meant for the bigger stages. I love it! And I especially enjoyed watching them perform their new songs! I’m just adding to my playlist. I guess i could have stayed to watch the other opening act, Echosmith and the headliner but I was starving and needed to feed so I bounced.

When I got home, I started uploading my videos to YouTube when lo and behold, my favorite guy in the whole wide world, Will Friedle, tweeted a picture of the shirt I gave him! Oh my gosh, I nearly fell off my stool because my legs turned into spaghetti, haha! That was so random. I had always wondered if it fit though. I have two of those shirts, one in white and one in purple. I love it. You can wash it and the artwork will last for awhile as long as you are washing it properly.

Ok, it’s time to go to sleep. Lots to do. Shows to produce, scripts to write, and videos to edit. Happy Halloweeny, Mr. Feeny!

Weekend Reflection

Had a blast this weekend. Closed our show, “The Ladies & The Tramps” with a great crowd! I can’t wait to have our post mortem. Producing this show was both stressful and exciting at the same time. I still remember back in November, pitching to my co-producer the type of unfiltered show I wanted to have. I thought, what if we lived in a world where you didn’t have to be polite? Do you always have to tell your friends that their baby is cute even when they’re not? What would happen if people were no longer polite and just downright honest? It would have required a team of writers to really focus and imagine this world and what kinds of experiences would we go through…but, we really didn’t have that kind of time. We’re not full time writers who can knock out A+ sketches every hour. We all work regular jobs and only do this at night. It’s kind of like having two jobs and yet, still having to take care of your personal life at home.

I so wish I could switch my life upside down. I would love to do sketch comedy full time and get paid and do my regular job whenever I feel like working. I put an awful lot of work into my hobbies but how I can get paid for it is another story. It’s all about the hustle, I guess. I would love to do Granny Cart Gangstas full time. Take us on the road and tour the show. This year’s show was a little different from our previous shows. First of all, it is our first multiple run show. We normally do one night stands so having a 6 night show was a real commitment and we had to be picky about who will participate. My favorite part about producing this show was the laughter. I loved hearing people laugh Then we knew our jokes landed. It was no longer just funny to us, it was funny to other people. Not that we needed validation for our material but we enjoyed making people laugh and it showed with our content.

My favorite pieces had to be the ones with the Will Friedle related arc. It was so fun to do and I loved seeing people say it was their favorite on the surveys we handed out. I didn’t plan it out any particular way, it just kind of landed that way and I’m ever so glad it did. Other pieces I enjoyed were “Feminist Date” which was about a couple who were getting hot & heavy while spewing out all the realities of women’s inequalities in life. Someone wrote that we “raised awareness” which we did not realize we did. Other comments that made me smile included “Hilarious” “Hella funny” and “Was impressed with acting/skits.” Of course we did get comments that told us people were offended by some of our humor but we dove into this project knowing full well what we were getting into. We knew some people would be offended or uncomfortable which is why I told people in my Bindlestiff interview not to come if they were the type to be easily offended.

In the end, I’m proud of that show. I’m proud of all the blood, sweat, tears and money that we put into it. I’m proud of all the players that said, “Fuck it!” and went balls out on all the parts they played, offensive or not. I’m proud of how we put everything together ahead of time. I’m proud of how all the players stepped up and took their places in the face of exhaustion and malady. It’s not easy to put on a show for us seeing as rehearsal time has always been our weakness. Finding time for our separate lives to converge and rehearse even for an hour is quite challenging but we somehow make it through.

The day after our last show, I got to experience seeing my short film, “Accident” on the big screen at the I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival. If I could rewind and rewatch that film, I would have not worried so much about how the sound might be or how the color might look or whether or not the moments that intended a reaction were accurate. I can’t help it, it’s my baby. To be honest, as this was the first film festival to accept my short after countless rejections, I waited for this festival to send me an email to tell me they made a mistake, that I really didn’t get in. I’m guessing this is probably the only festival I’ll get into but it was truly an irreplaceable experience to see your own short film on a big screen. I’m so glad I was able to go. Anyway, that was my weekend and it was great. Can’t wait to work on my next project, There’s the Moon And Then There’s You.

So Close!

Ugh, Will Friedle announced that they will be taping his episode on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the tickets I chose were for the following week. :’0( I know, I am devastated. After going to so many events and trying to meet him, I’m just at the point where I’m thinking maybe it’s just not meant to be. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I went to so many events such as Wondercon, Comic Con, ATX, I went to events of other BMW alum as well and I was able to meet all of them. All except Will. It’s a sign. I shall beg the GMW people to let me switch my tickets but knowing my luck, I’ll end up getting banned from the tapings. Well, at least I’ll always have that one experience of going to the closed taping when Ben invited me. I don’t think anything could top that.

I watched the episode, “Girl Meets Home For The Holidays” last night. I don’t know about you but I felt like I was transported back to 2000 and Boy Meets World never went off the air. Except, it’s just a little more colorful this time around (no pastels). They said things that made me say “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” like when Shawn looked at Riley and said “You’re Cory with Topanga’s hair!” That was so awesome. And the hug. The HUG! The Shawn & Cory hug. I wouldn’t have expected anything less than the tight squeeze they gave each other.

I read somewhere that people were confused about the bay window conversation between Maya and Shawn when they were talking about how they were growing up. Since I watched the taping for the next Shawn episode, I knew exactly what they were implying but I wonder what I would be thinking if I hadn’t. Although, it’s not that hard to figure out. Riley’s beautiful heart is an open book and she has only good intentions for everyone, especially for her BFF. Trust me, if you DVR’d this episode, save it. When Shawn comes back, return to this episode and you will understand it completely.

Ugh, I so wish I could have been at the taping of that episode. I wonder if the audience went nuts. I’m sure they did. I wonder if there were any uncontrolled outbursts of “I love you, Shawn!” exploding in the air or existing beneath tearful whispers of 30-somethings who will treasure this experience forever. I’m so happy Rider came back. I read somewhere that he had issues with the show and when he got to direct an episode, he was finally at peace with it. Rider is a really nice guy and when I first met him, never in a million years would I have thought I would ever see him back onscreen. I thought directing was his big thing now with Strong Brothers Magic Show. They have inspired me so much that I even made my very first short film, Accident. They were so down-to-earth and I really like it when celebrities are not assholes. We are all human beings and we all deserve a little respect and he gave me that. I appreciate him.

Anyway, not sure how much longer I can continue trying to meet Will. If I put this much energy into finding a job I love, I’d be in such a better company by now. Oooh, epiphany! Switch your priorities, Miss Ava! :0P

Made My Goal

I’m so happy to announce that I made my GoFundMe goal! I have to admit, before I began the campaign, I was hesitant to do it and tried really hard to figure out a way for me to fund the festival circuit myself. However, after doing all the calculations, I realized it would put me into some serious financial hardship and I had already spent a lot of money during production. I just really didn’t think anyone would donate to me. Fortunately, some friends encouraged me to try to set up a campaign anyway and see what happens.

Lo and behold, I got my first donation less than 5 minutes after posting it! I was floored by the amazing love & support I received from everyone, some who barely even knew me were rooting for me! I couldn’t believe it. I guess I should have had more faith in my community. It has been such a wonderful journey, meeting such talented & generous people who cared about my dreams.

In addition, I’d like to add that I finally received permission from my very favorite band, Finish Ticket, to put their music in my short film!! It took over a year to get the music and the release but it finally happened and I’m so excited to have them in my film! Brendan Hoye, the lead singer, wrote a song especially for my film and I have to say, it is absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better song for this film and I’m SOOOOO excited to start submitting it to film festivals! If you listen to my 30 second trailer, you’ll hear a little bit of another song of theirs called, “Pockets.” You can check out their music on their website. Or, you can check them out at LIVE 105’s BFD concert or Outside Lands!!! So crazy that they are performing at these events. They are going to blow up, I guarantee it. I’ve thought this since the first time I saw them perform back in 2011 when they opened for Jackson Rathbone’s now defunct band, 100 Monkeys. Ugh! I love their music so much, it’s insane.

My First Short Film – Accident

“Don’t wait around for someone else to tell your story. Do it yourself by whatever means necessary.” – Lena Dunham

Everyone has a story but not everyone is willing to tell it. When I finally decided to tell my story, I outlined it, wrote the script, storyboarded it, and cast it all in the same day. This is what I call my Passion project. Passion with a capital “P.” After fixing the script, gathering my crew, filming the story, and making the edits, it is now it’s time to share the story.

When I first thought of it, my mindset was that there was nothing I could do about it. It’s just a dream and doesn’t exist. However, I felt that this dream was worth it so I turned it into a goal, which comes with a plan of action. I would like to submit this short film into as many film festivals around the world as possible. Unfortunately, I’m discovering it is quite costly to share your Passion. Therefore, I am asking if you are willing to help me share.

Each festival ranges from $0 – $80+ and I’m afraid I cannot afford all the submission fees, DVD costs, and press kit printouts it requires. I am hoping with your help, that this short film will act as a catalyst that will launch me into the right direction. If by some miracle, I am able to raise more than my goal, then I can enter even more festivals! Someday, I’d like to tell a bigger story, more stories. There aren’t very many women in filmmaking and I would like to change the game. And who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll end up telling YOUR story. Thank you for your time.

Here is a 30 second teaser:

Screenplay Reading

I finally got to hear a reading of my screenplay out loud by voices other than those in my head! Yay! I received some great feedback that will be helpful towards my final script. I haven’t had a chance to work on it yet because I’ve been so busy with the Taste Better Wit show. Now that it’s over, I can move forward with my next project – grant writing. I need to figure out how I am going to get money to make this short film. I have a lot of good things going for this film so far.

1) The topic is related to negative body image. I’d like to bring light to a topic that I’ve been concerned about for a very long time. Magazines, fashion, television, & movies all tend to worship the “skinny bitch” image for women and I don’t condone it. I know I am always trying to lose weight but there’s a difference between doing it for health or for happiness.

2) I have a fantastic comedian as the director. He’s actually my favorite comedian, Kevin Camia. I approached him about the idea and since he’s a professional in comedy, he will be guiding me on the final script and directing it! What a dream this is.

3) I have the full support of my friends. Roles I need to fill: Music composer-check. Band-check. Makeup artist-check. Choreographer-check. Producer-check. Assistant director-check. Now, all I need is to hold an audition and get some actors, then do a call out for crew when I’m ready.

4) Cameo time from one of my favorite comedians! I was inspired & wanted to write in a quick character in my script based on a character that one of my favorite comedians created. However, the only person I could see playing that part was him. So I hit him up somehow and he said he was definitely open to it because he had never done that before. Yay!! Imagine my enthusiasm when he told me that. I don’t want to reveal who it is because I don’t want to jinx myself so I’ll just be keeping my fingers crossed.

Other than that, life is treating me well and I am extremely excited for things to come. It’s a lot of hard work but the payoff is astoundingly rewarding.

Ambition to Fruition

My friend and I have been talking for over a year about wanting to make short films that are focused on women, comedy & imagination. We were being ambitious & didn’t know if it would actually come to life. We had been throwing ideas back & forth with each other and now that Death of a Player is done, we can finally put some actual work into this project. We’ve decided to venture into the world that is YouTube. We came up with so many ideas that we realized we just couldn’t do it alone so we pulled in a few more local friends that we knew would share our vision. Right now, there are 5 of us working on this project. Once we establish an actual & credible foundation of some sorts, we’re hoping to pull the rest of our creative friends to express our vision. It’s a lot of work and I’d just rather present it to our friends when there is more structure & direction. Right now, it’s pretty ambiguous & frazzled. :0P There are so many YouTubers out there that make all these funny videos and we want in on that! The best part about us is that between us 5, we are producers, filmmakers, comedians, writers, musicians, directors, and actors. Plus, we have a spectacular community of resources that we can hit up, no problem. The best part is that we’ve worked with one another before so we know each others’ strengths & weaknesses, how to get along & how to work together to get this going.

I’m super excited. I never really thought it would actually happen. I’m usually the type of person to dream & not do. It took a long time for me to actually crank those dreams out and make them come true. I still have dreams & one by one, I’m working towards getting them to fruition. Of course, my ultimate will always be losing weight but I’m just going to let that one simmer for now. It will just have to remain a constant reminder that will nag at my shoulders each time I make a meal decision, try on an outfit, or feel an irregular heart palpitation.

Anyway, I had the pleasure of location scouting last night and I found that I really enjoy the pre-production side of things. Some people think that things just magically happen and that just simply is not true. So much goes into the making of almost anything-concert, movie, theater show, even improv has some kind of pre-production planning involved. I just really love to follow a plan. Without them, there would be chaos, confusion and consequences.

And so it begins…

Granny Cart Gangstas