Making a film without any money

One of the things that surprises most people when they meet me, I’ve made two documentaries – at that it seems that I have no money. I can see their faces and hear the wheels turning in their head wondering how did I make anything when it seems as if I can’t even afford a new wardrobe?

For the most part they’re right, I can’t afford a new wardrobe…yet. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that making a film with good content doesn’t require that much of a budget if we’re talking about documentaries, or short films, or even films shot with your smart phone. I’m far from the only person who has worked with what I call a sugar-string budget (I’ll explain this term further into the post) here is a list on Flavorwire on the 10-most iconic films that were made with very little budget and managed to become cult favorites.

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However, before you navigate away from my page to check out the list, I’d like to share my experiences with filmmaking on a $0 – $1,000 budget.

  1. Plan your story
    • If you don’t have a script because it’s something you’ve just come up with, don’t worry, always plan what the scene is going to look like and grab your actors (mostly friends that are more than willing to do this for free and have fun with you) and tell them about it. They’ll enjoy the day out and get the takes as you planned them out in your head.
    • If it’s a documentary that you want to make, don’t fret. From my experience it’s hard to get backing from a production company for a documentary that’s either not made or currently in production. So, while you’re doing your research, see what equipment you have and how you can work with it. Example: I have a Canon T3 Rebel and basic recording equipment for audio (an Olympus recorder) the edition of the Rebel camera that I have cannot connect a microphone without an adapter so what I do is lay over the external audio to the camera audio (a tedious task I may add) but in the end, after the extreme attention to detail and voice echo – it comes out very well. If your documentary topic requires you to travel outside the country but you can’t because you have no money? There are many technological advances that can help you record online “conferences” and download them to your hard drive so you can later edit them into your film (i.e. Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Blab, etc.) check to see what works best for you and use it – of course you must give credit where credit is due and make sure to state that one of these applications was used in the making of your film.
  2. Free editing tutorials and low cost editing software
    • You haven’t gone to film school and don’t know squat about how to edit footage? Don’t worry! There are tons of tutorials online that can help you with that. The most affordable editing software are listed here – however, my favorite are the Sony Creative Software, because they’re user friendly and the movie studio can also be used to render both MP3 and MP4’s – so that’s pretty badass I think. The basic Movie Studio 13 runs for about $50 and it’s really good to use for introduction projects like short films, documentaries, digital poems and such.
  3. Still afraid of your lack of money?
    • There is a term for low budget in the industry “shoe string budget.” I however, have coined a new term that I like to call a “sugar string budget” the budget that is so fragile and so thin that if water falls on it – it’s gone. Still, I haven’t let that stop me before. My documentaries were made with basically no money. I spent money on travel, food, some additional equipment and even though I sought funding to be able to travel to certain countries to be able to make Forced into Silence I didn’t get it. Still, I worked out how I could make the movie happen because it was such an important message that needed to be told. My next project is also being worked as a solely independent film – that most likely will have no budget in its making either.
    • If you want to make a short film or a feature film and need some capital, reach out to your friends, loved ones and tell them about the project, show them what you’re planning on making and work with them an “Executive Producer” title (with no creative rights) on the project. It also works to give them perks like VIP status on special events (i.e. private screenings, film festival screenings, etc.) as well as copies of the movie and posters. After all, they did help you make your film and that’s a great way to thank them for helping you. It also works if you agree to pay them back if you release your film on a paid streaming platform such as Vimeo on demand, Amazon, some YouTube portals, etc. make sure to get all this on paper though – usually entertainment lawyers are understandable when it comes to one being a first time filmmaker and not knowing your 1st Director from your 2nd or your Production Assistants from your Production Associates.

To end the list, I have to say that keeping movie making local as an up and coming filmmaker is easier for me and my bank account. So check with your cities, bureaus or municipalities about permits; some places have filming fees, but most don’t unless it’s a big-budget production. While others just require a permit to ensure safety of those involved in the filming – basically a document that says they knew you were filming there and that you were aware of the risks, if any, of filming on a certain place. It’s also a way to respect the authorities and will help you later on down the line when acquiring permits for your big budget projects.

Also, Raindance has these great webinars that you can stream to learn more about making your film happen with lo-to-no-budget, which you can check out here.

Well, that’s all the advice I have for now – don’t forget to share the post and follow me on Twitter @LaShawnPagan

Production Starting Soon!

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting ready to start production on my next documentary – finally it’s going to happen!

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early b-day gift, can’t wait to start using it!

Last week I got a new Vivitar Action Camera from my Dad as an early birthday gift. According to the online reviews the picture/film quality is just as good as a GoPro, so I’m really excited to start snorkeling this week as production starts to roll for Beneath the Waves – I’ll soon be posting still shots from my adventures in the sea!

Today, I decided that after failed attempts at Crowd-Funding I would launch a “monthly donations” page. Inspired by a musician who I donate to, I thought that if a modern day troubadour can get monthly donations from his fans, why can’t I? It’s hard making it in this business, but with your help, it can be that much easier! I think this way, people can take take control of what they see, and what’s released in film – bringing in the audience as participants in the makings of the films that they see is something exciting, innovating and possibly game changing for the industry.

Hopefully, this donation set up (which doesn’t expire) will be successful and I would be able to complete the next three films I have in mind; three wonderful documentaries – here is a little bit more about them:

Beneath the waves: (est. length: 50minutes)
Genre: Documentary
Writer/Director: La Shawn Pagán
Language: English/Spanish (sub)

Synopsis: Focusing on the health of coral reefs around Puerto Rico, the film will feature both healthy and at risk areas in the Atlantic and Caribbean Seas that surround the smaller of the Greater Antilles. Focusing on how the combinations of over-fishing, climate change, along with human contamination have negatively affected the health of the islands coast – while presenting a possible solution for same.

Ocean Therapy: (est. length: 25minutes)
Genre: Documentary
Writer/Director: La Shawn Pagán
Language: English/Spanish (sub)

Synopsis: A short film about how the ocean and water sports (e.g. surfing, body boarding, SUP) has been proven effective to treat autism, multiple sclerosis and depression.

Forced into Silence (est. length 60minutes)
Genre: Documentary
Writer/Director: La Shawn Pagán
Language: English/Spanish (sub)

Synopsis: A film set to focus on men who have been sexually assaulted and victims of domestic violence at any point of their lives. With a look at the emerging centers that care for their specific needs in The Netherlands, Sweden, and the newer centers for men’s care in Australia, and the U.S., Additionally it will look at the current laws that protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and what makes it so hard for men to be recognized under these laws, furthering the struggle of men to find a voice in a (increasingly extreme) feminist world.

These films are incredibly complex and diverse in nature, but the subject matter is one that needs to be discussed and explored by a greater audience. Beneath the Waves and Ocean Therapy are incredibly relevant for today’s climate change affected world – how we are affecting the planet beyond the surface and how it affects us in return (Ocean Therapy).  Whereas with Forced into Silence will (continue) to explore the complex topic of male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The production on FiS has begun, but was halted because of lack of funding – this is a huge disservice to the men AND women who are struggling.

I kindly ask you, to check out my new monthly donation page on Patreon and sign up for as low as $1.00 a month to help me make these films. Who knows, one day you’ll be able to be say you ‘produced an award-winning film’!

On screen appearances and the travesty of body dysmorphia

Jr. HS me was too fat to be anything...still I manage to rock that flared shirt and clogs like no one's business
Jr. HS me was too fat to be anything…still I manage to rock that flared shirt and clogs like no one’s business

It was a time when I was seriously struggling with my self-image and didn’t want to be seen in any way, shape or form. I was about 25 years old when my friend and mentor Doc Tudor asked me to be an extra in one of his short films.

As a future director I realized then, that I must know all the aspects of filmmaking. In order for me to be a successful writer, director I had to know what it felt like to be an actor. However, the fact that I saw myself about 20 sizes larger than I actually was, instilled an incomparable fear within me of being in front of a camera, a fear that one can bold enough to call it a phobia. Still, I managed to say yes to my friend and proceeded to sit down at the table at the restaurant the last day of shooting. Hoping that I wouldn’t mess up the take when they did the wide shot.

During my formative years I was often told I was too fat. Both in school and at home I was told that I was too fat to be loved, too fat to be in the choir (or how the choir director called it ‘not aesthetically pleasing enough’) too fat to be ballerina, a singer, and even too fat to be pretty.  I was told that if I didn’t lose weight, I’d never find a boyfriend or amount to much in life, that it was only the thin (and light skinned) girls who got anywhere. When a boy confessed to me that he loved me and I rejected him, one of my family members told me I should have been grateful to have someone love me, because at my weight, that would most likely never happen again.

early 1980's when I wanted really badly to be a bellerina
early 1980’s me when I wanted really badly to be a ballerina

It was only during the past seven years that I came to realize that while I’ve never been the thinnest person ever, nor will I be, I’ve also never been the heaviest person ever – nor will I ever be. However, before coming to that realization the constant barrage of negativity towards my weight led me to think I wasn’t good enough to achieve my dreams. Still, it wasn’t long before I realized that people are just absolutely absurd when it comes to weight, and beauty standards and no one would ever fit in all of the standards. Because we are all different and different societies have different standards. So, after being in numerous relationships in my life (relationships with really attractive men I might add) I learned that I can be and have been loved. Most importantly, I learned that I needed to love myself before proceeding to enter another relationship and to achieve my dreams of being a filmmaker.

it was during the mid 00's when I started to really love me for who I was
it was during the mid 00’s when I started to really love me for who I was

It was for the sake of the longevity of my career, and the longevity of my sanity, that I began to focus on learning to love who I was entirely. Learning, exploring, and appreciating my body, mind, heart and soul led me to being able to pursue a writing career and subsequent film career. This moment of self love and discovery led me to realizing the strength I have and the amazing person I am. Although I am still haunted by the past when I step in front of the camera, I don’t let that deter me from doing so.  While, many people have told me that I am a natural when it comes to performing, I have to mentally prepare myself for weeks – practice the dialogue and make sure that my face doesn’t tense up when that recording light goes on, because I still remember the negative words that echoed through most of my younger years.

“Nobody wants to see a fat person on screen.”

A guy I dated once told me that. He was trying to encourage me to not only lose weight, but to be less assertive – or how he said it “less like a man, because men don’t want to date a woman who is like them.” Although it’s been almost a decade since I heard those words, I have to say they influenced my life for a long time, longer than I would care to admit. However, it hasn’t influenced the REST of my life, nor my decisions in attaining success or relationships since.

Working at the UN a colleague snapped this photo of me asking Linkin' Park a question about their composting stove program (Photo Louise de Hemptinne)
Working at the UN a colleague snapped this photo of me asking Linkin’ Park a question about their composting stove program (Photo Louise de Hemptinne)

I have practiced and conditioned my brain to being in front of the screen. While right now I’d like to stay behind the camera in order to let my work speak for itself. I tense up less, and am less frightened about how I will look once I’m on the other side of the camera. I’ve been able to do several videos, interviews and appear in photographs without a problem. I’ve even conditioned myself to not ask for a do over in photos. Accepting myself, just as I am, is an important part of my success story, because once I realized that I was capable of loving myself and being loved – I realized that I could achieve my dreams and that nothing, other than myself was able to stop me.

One thing I do now, that I didn’t do before is search for body types that resemble mine. Finding solace in several Latina actresses and plus size models I’ve come to realize that I am not alone and people do want to see my body type on screen and on the pages of magazines.  Although I’m in no hurry in doing any cameos, I have no qualms of filling in for an actor/extra if needed. Now, I remember what my mother used to say to me when I was younger “you’re already a movie star, you were an extra in a movie when you were a baby.” Filmmaking has been in my life since I was in a 1970’s stroller.

at the Rincón International Film Festival with some of the Forever Boogies crew/supporters
at the Rincón International Film Festival with some of the Forever Boogies crew/supporters

Success is not measured by the size of your waist, nor the color of your skin. It’smeasured by the amount of passion and determination you have towards anything you set yourself in achieving. This, I learned the hard way, and I’ll do whatever it takes to spread the word for others to know what took me a little over two decades in learning for myself. As of now, I’m happy with my weight, happy with my life and continue to strive to achieve all the goals I set out to.

P.S.
For further body positivity – here is a song by the lovely Thomas James Smith, which I’m sure you’ll love: We’re all the Same on SoundCloud

Coming to terms with your (temporary) limitations

There are tons of challenges that you face when you’re a struggling artist. From funding to having your most important tools not work (e.g. your car not working, your camera breaking, not having the right equipment for the vision you’re trying to create) it’s hard to make things happen for you when you’re challenged to such a capacity that all you can do is sit back and watch things unfold.

This is the case I’ve been dealing with for the past three months. I planned to start Take 1filming my next documentary by quietly going to each beach I selected on the map and film most of the underwater footage while my producers dealt with the task of pitching my project to investors for funds for the rest. Then, my car broke. Yes, it broke. I’ve been without a car for three months now. The mechanic told me that it needed a new engine and for the past few months I’ve been waiting for him to install the new one I purchased so that I would be able to start production on my projects.

What’s worse? I have no one to help me go film. I reached out to a few local people asking if they were interested in helping me out and being a part of the film, not one was interested enough to come pick me up. This is in great part my fault. I haven’t made enough strong connections to be able to rely on a person to make a project like this happen. Also, I’ve been focusing on the health of my father, who has been struggling with several ailments during the past two months.

Vegan Food
rainbow plate #vegan

So, what have I been doing with my time? Simple, I’ve been taking time to restructure my film plans, to further research the topics I’ve chosen to focus on in my next documentaries and to apply for grants for journalists. I have also perfected my bag making skills, so I can sell them to those interested in having ecologically friendly and stylish handmade bags to either go to the beach, use every day and/or use them as grocery bags. Most importantly I’ve used this ‘forced down time’ to take care of my father, who has been sick more often than ever. Finally, I’ve been posting a lot of vegan food photos on Instagram.  I mean, it’s incredibly delicious food I have been stuffing my pie hole with lately…

The Challenges of Securing Funding

While I have accrued some help by the way of some incredibly talented people in the mainland, I still haven’t secured funding for my projects. Therefore I have continued searching for other ways to make my projects financially happen. With failed attempts of crowdfunding my projects I haven’t let that deter me from continuing forward with the very important issue of conservation and environmental issues that aren’t addressed in the Caribbean.

Still, I’ve come to that point in the road where there’s a giant fork and I wonder if I should move forward to that one road that calls me – it’s winding, filled with rocks, thorns and all sorts of crazy obstacles, but at the end of that road are all the things I’ve always wanted. Or should I go down the road that is simpler to walk down? Of course after taking a deep breath I stepped into the road that leads to my dreams. No matter if it’s the hardest road to travel, or if it’s the lonelier one to walk down, it will lead me to all the things I’ve always wanted.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been days that I’ve wanted to reach out to the popular television show hosts and tell them about my financial struggles so they can ‘donate’ money to my cause – as quickly as those thoughts come to mind I dismiss them. Although many people have been helped by them, I feel that I would be taking the easy way out and that my eventual success wouldn’t be as long lasting if I did reach out them. So, I continue to write grants proposals and send them out. I research the health of coral reefs (Save the Coral Reefs), along with the effects of assault on men and boys (for Forced into Silence the documentary) and chat with those who are in each field that can adequately prepare me to make a film that would be not only educational, but superbly visual and captivating for all audiences.

The point is to continue working on what you can in order to further the chances for completion. Don’t ever let something like not having a car (at the moment) keep you from working on the project. Since there are so many other aspects for a film to come to fruition that needs to be taken care of,  most of which do not require travel time. So, focus on those instead until actual filming can take place.

Keeping the faith

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid in Belle
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid in Asante’s Belle

Another thing that can prove challenging to many new filmmakers is believing in oneself, believing in your project and keeping the strength to continue moving forward despite the challenges. The trick is to center your focus and have an unwavering passion for your project. You have to be relentless in wanting to make your film. If you can’t find it in yourself, sometimes looking at other’s challenges; for example think that if Oprah Winfrey, Kathryn Bigelow, Amma Asante gave up on their dreams of becoming powerful women in their respective fields we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the life changing episodes of Oprah, and later on she wouldn’t  have produced amazing historical drama directed by the amazing Ava DuVernay that is Selma, nor would we have ever been able to enjoy (the original and extremely bad ass version of) Point Break, The Hurt Locker, much less Zero Dark Thirty, nor would we have been able to learn that there was a black aristocrat (much less fall in love with her) in Asante’s Belle. If the extreme circumstances would have mentally affected J.K. Rowling – the world wouldn’t have known of Harry Potter. If these women can work past the criticism, the rejection, the poverty and achieve their dreams, so can you….so can I.

I know it’s not easy, I mean some days I wake up and wonder ‘why am I doing all of this?’ then I get an email, a comment, a tweet from someone who has seen the work I’ve put out there already encouraging me to keep going because they want to see the end result of a particular thing I’ve started. It motivates me to read the words of someone who reaches out to tell me how their world has been impacted by an article, a video, or a photo I have shared. Then I know, for sure, that I’m not doing this for myself only – but for them. For those who need a push and that’s a huge responsibility that I accept and use as a motivation to keep moving forward.

Focus on what you can control

The only things you can control are your actions and the way you feel about certain situations. Ask yourself these questions when you’re faced with a difficult situation:

  • Do you want be angry and not achieve a solution?
  • What is the immediate solution to this problem?
  • Can you do anything to change the outcome of this and what is it?
  • Are you going to focus on the impossibilities or will you positively impact your current challenges?

Once you’re in a place that all you can do is wait for something to be resolved (e.g. your car being fixed, getting people interested in funding your project) take care of what you can control. Keep working on immediate things; focus on what things that is feasible for you at the moment. But never, ever give up on the main goal.

New Film Dates!

Coral Reef Task Force Volunteer Ricardo Laureano points at a newly attached coral in Puerto Rico
Coral Reef Task Force Volunteer Ricardo Laureano points at a newly attached coral in Puerto Rico

Hey people! I’ve been busy with scheduling, budgeting and proposing my next film to several people in the business, and I think I’ve recruited a fantastic fellow director/producer who will help me find funding all the way from New York! I won’t say too much about it, but I’m really excited about what’s coming next.

On a quick note, I want to mention this before I get too into writing about the next phases of the documentary about coral reefs. I was recently, I was contacted by a reader with wanting a few tips on his film idea and to see if I could put him in touch with people in the business here in Puerto Rico. I thought that was a pretty awesome thing. Like my first official “fan mail” from a fellow writer. So, if any of you feel compelled to write, or comment on here, please feel free on doing so. I want to hear what you have to say…well, read what you have to write 🙂

Okay, back to film! Later this month I’ll start filming the next documentary focusing on coral reefs around Puerto Rico. I’m really excited about this project because it will feature a lot of underwater shots and I love those. Although the funds for the film weren’t raised. I will go ahead and make due with what I have. Until my fantastic new producer can get me some funding. I believe in this project and I’ll do whatever it takes to bring it to fruition. So, filming will begin late May and will continue up until November.

During these dates, you, my awesome readers and followers, will be able to enjoy a lot of behind the scenes photos; short videos on my Facebook page; quick notes on this site about what I experienced during the day shoot; and updates on other aspects of the film.

I leave you with this, until I can post the first update on the site. I look forward to seeing comments from you guys!

25 things I’ve learned from being screened at a film festival

RIFF program and tags For the past seven months I’ve been working really hard to really make an entrance into the filmmaking world.

For years I’ve been looking to produce a film that made a difference in my life as a person and a story teller. Never did I imagine that a short film about surfers was going to do that.

I knew I had something good in my hands, but I didn’t know how good it was. Surfer dudes looking to help the environment and community by organizing beach clean ups and promote surfing, body boarding and long board skating to the next generation – this was a topic that I knew people would want to see. That the surfing community would want to share with others to challenge the negative stereotypes they’ve been labeled with for far too long.

In that process I didn’t know how this small film was going to impact, not only me as a person, but my drive to continue exploring this topic and bringing the message of conservation to the masses.

full audience at the Rincon International Film Festival - Documentary Night
full audience at the Rincon International Film Festival – Documentary Night

However, through the process of submitting and being officially selected from the 1,500 submissions, to be among the 87 Puerto Rican filmmakers to be able to showcase their films in such a huge platform like The Rincón International Film Festival, has been an incredibly learning experience. Here are the top 25 things I learned from it

  1. I’m way too hard on myself – it wasn’t until I saw the title of my film on the big screen in a jam packed room of people eager to watch the documentaries for the evening schedule, that I was convinced that it was all really happening. Still, I managed to see the mistakes I made and think “I need to make that better” and “God that’s an awful cut”. A lady from the audience came up to me and gave me a hug for a job well done. I was surprised.
  2. Being a solo filmmaker doesn’t make you less of a filmmaker – As the single writer, director, editor, producer and location scout I had my hands more than full during the process. It also made me more confident to compete with the teams of filmmakers that were present during the event. Not once did I think I didn’t belong there. No. Instead I found myself full with certainty that I belonged. There was a deep sense of gratification and satisfaction knowing that what a team of five or 10 people accomplished I did all alone.
  3. Having a huge production team doesn’t guarantee you a win – while watching the judges award their selections, I noticed that among them was a team of two – so it’s about craft, storytelling and dedication to the piece.
  4. Being informative doesn’t mean you have to be boring – There were some really awesome films that made an impact and were fun to watch.
  5. Being artsy doesn’t mean you are being informative – while there were films that were fun to watch, the message was a little lost. There has to be a mixture of both informative and artsy.
  6. My car hates me – seriously, she hated me for driving her two hours to the west. She got so mad she fumed and didn’t want to start. It was only after I stopped for gas, let her cool down, gave her some water, coolant and some special liquid treat that she turned back on. She also does not like traffic (she rattles in it), but when coming back home, she was so excited that the smooth commute took a little less than 2 hours…wtf?
  7. Fun music in a road trip makes all the difference – I mean, seriously, I kept on thinking how horrible it would be to be those guys in the Volkswagen Passat commercial with the Spanish DVD…So I want to thank: Adele, DJ Marvl, Calvin Harris, George Ezra, Calle 13, Cultura Profetica, Sia, Matisyahu, and Ellie Goulding for making/mixing some awesome music that people can drive to.
  8. My fear of public speaking > anything – really, the most dreaded part was speaking in front of the audience about my film. I mean, everyone became a blur, and I noticed I was having a hard time standing….
  9. I should worry less – there are many things that I do, and one of them I shouldn’t be doing is worry. I worry if the work is good enough, if the message is good enough, if the audio, if the music is perfect…I should trust my instincts more.
  10. Puerto Rico has an incredible amount of talent – it’s really exceptional. I knew there were some pretty talented people here, and I was lucky enough to be recognized among them, but there are so many more talented people, so many artists, so many great filmmakers here, it’s amazing.
  11. The Expresso (Freeway) turns into local PR-2 around Arecibo – really jarring for me. Usually, when going to a place I have to navigate the dozens of un-marked streets. This trip made it extremely easy to drive those hours because it was straight driving, only two turns; one right towards Rincón, and left to go into the hotel.
  12. I’m really attached to my dogs – all the while I wished I could have at least one of them with me…
  13. There are moments I want to cherish without a photo – not everything should be photographed, or shared in social media.
  14. Experiences like these give me motivation for new projects – even when crowd-funding hasn’t been successful and I’ve resorted to starting my line of handmade beach and tote and shopping bags in order to raise funds. I’m even more motivated to start on the next project now than ever before. There is no amount of obstacles that can make me say “I’m not going to make this piece”. I can’t wait to get behind the camera again!
  15. Never give up (even when others insist you do) – Your dreams are yours, and you should reach for them no matter what. Doesn’t matter if others understand them, support them, or not, never give up on the things you want to do. The rewards are countless once you reach that goal. Trust me.
  16. Don’t worry about the people who aren’t there – When I was checking in at the Filmmakers table, I told the girl “I have three people coming in” and she asked surprised “Only 3?!” I smiled and nodded. If I would have said that three years ago, and heard that reaction I would have cried. But last night I didn’t care. Three people I knew, one of which came with his small family came to support me, support the film and say “we’re here”. And while my father was home bound (his health has been incredibly poor lately), I knew in his heart he was incredibly proud. Every photo I posted of the event he shared within minutes. He called me twice to see how things were going. I got text messages from friends and some family in New York City congratulating me. That was way more important to me than having an entourage of people coming say “we’re here for you”.
  17. I’m not the only one who has a “producer parent” – nor will I be the last.
  18. Even professional filmmakers make transition mistakes – I saw it, with my own two eyes and I felt better about mine….hehehehe.
  19. You’ll find support in the most unexpected places – truly. After the second time I had to go up and speak in front of the audience, as I was walking back to my seat, a lady hugged me. She loved my film so much, she hugged me. She wanted to see more of it and that was priceless. That is what I’m looking for with my films, to make that sort of impact. It was incredible.
  20. I should be upset with my equipment – although I’ve been dying to get new filmmaking equipment, I shouldn’t knock the one I have. It’s worked well for me so far, and I should be grateful that I have it. Because without it, I wouldn’t have been able to make the film, nor would I have been able to get a warm hug from my first fan. Awesome – I love you Cannon Rebel T3i!
  21. Rincón is beautiful, and it’s also called “Stella” in Google maps – Which caused me to want to enjoy a Stella, in one of their amazing water for developing countries chalices. I also wanted to scream “STELLAAAAAAAA!”
  22. People will try to help you if they see you have car troubles – no matter where you are, there are genuine nice people that will offer a helping hand for car troubles. In turn, that restores my faith in humanity.
  23. I am a filmmaker – despite the fact that I still can’t believe it. I am a filmmaker.
  24. Being obnoxious is not pretty – nope…not at all.
  25. Humility, tenacity, and willingness to continue to learn will take you a long way – it will also ensure your career is a long lasting one and your success is consistent.