Sunday, July 31, 2016

calling london and italy

HEY honey bunnies.  I probably won't blog this next week so let me say it now:  RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT.  

I hope that August 2016 will offer you very hoppy, summertime memories.  Early bday wishes to J. Lis, M. Gleason, T. Worth, M. Gammon, and B. Obama.

I don't feel like I have much news today, so I'll share more about the production of my feature film.

[1]  I have mentioned my roommate moving and, as we orchestrate this transition, changes sweep through my household.  Over the next month, we'll choose a new cable and phone pkg, and I want to add a long-distance option to our landline - because I need to call the UK, France, and Italy. With Virginia being British and the film set in Scotland, I need to call folks abroad.  I'm excited to speak with staff at an organization called Open Doors, which is an initiative that funds film development.

Open Doors is an initiative launched by the Locarno Film Festival, based in Rome.

[2]  I mentioned that I'm trying to organize a table reading of my completed screenplay.  Not making progress with venues in Boston, I've continued to turn to New York City. Drawing Board sent an email, confirming that they have received my materials and that they will get back to me later this year.  Also, this next wk I'm going to speak with a manager at the 58th Street Library in Manhattan about the branch's book club table reading the entire script and then discussing it / sharing feedback.

[3]  After polling pals on names for a production company, I have finally settled on Nutmeg+Mustard:
Nutmeg +

With the rest of 2016 dedicated to putting $10K toward school debt, I must wait til 2017 before I'm able to trademark the name of my filmmaking company.  With a registration process costing up to $500, I'm going to cut that cost as much as I can, esp because I will probably be paying out of pocket.

And that is today's update on my film adaptation.  Please feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I will singularly focus on this slow but exciting filmmaking journey:


Friday, July 29, 2016

student loan debt


That is the grand total of my student loan debt, which I currently owe to Navient Corporations.

I've meant to write this particular blog for months, but I got distracted - with preparing for a new housemate and with other transitions that have occupied my muggy summer days. However, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton's historic acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination has emboldened me to finally share this overwhelming debt that I have lived with for over a decade.

I have been with her, all along.  Hillary Rodham Clinton first announced her 2016 presidential bid last year in April, but I was waiting for that announcement even before then.  I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for Hillary's bid back in 2014 - as were some others.  And here's a primary reason why I am her supporter:  Last night while laying out her political agenda, Hillary Clinton promised to make higher education tuition and debt free (in collaboration with Bernie Sanders).  She promised to absolve some school debt that many Americans, like myself, already shoulder.

In the meantime, til the federal government of the United States gets around to absolving some of my enormous student debt, it is important I become much more responsible about repaying it.

I am setting a financial goal for myself:  By the end of 2016, I will bring this debt down to $60K.

There are sacrifices I need to make, in order to meet my financial goal, and those sacrifices are:

[1]  No books.  I splurge on about 15 books per year, usu bought on Amazon, but over the next few months I'll finish Jonahthan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close... In fact, I should read that soon-ish, because the adaptation with Tom Hanks is on Netflix!  And I'll read other books already in my collection - like Richard F. Burton's translation of Arabian Nights.  There are plenty of books I wanna buy and mark up with my blue marvy pen, but not this year.

[2]  For the rest of this year, all of the food that I eat shall be prepared in my kitchen.  No more tasty falafal sandwiches from the Amsterdam Falafal only one block away from my apartment (which is waaaay too close to be soooo darn tasty).  No more coffee shops at breakfast time.  For the rest of the year, I'll make food at home and in bulk, saving hundreds of dollars by doing so.

i love this shop!  small falafal sandwich on wheat pita, please!

Maybe most significant, I might make the most progress with this goal to put $10K toward my school debt, if I am completely open with others that I'm staying home yet another weekend because ninety percent of my expendable income is put toward a school debt.  Or I cannot meet at a restaurant because I'm trying to be financially responsible.  Or I am a nerd who reads not only because books make me happy, but also because reading is a free.  Like with my cell phone that's been given to me by the state of Massachusetts, I need to begin to be open about my school debt and how it is priority for me to repay it - so other indulgences are more easily sacrificed.

On Monday I'll begin a full-time job.  It's a salaried position with benefits and approved overtime, and it is a good move for me, but I don't want to write about it on the blog - at least not yet. So I will have the income to actually achieve this hefty $10K goal - if I really really put my mind to it.

For the rest of this year, I am going to use the Broke Bridget blog to stay focused on my school debt, and last night I set up a Twitter account for my film adaptation - victorious hands in the air - so over there I'll be focused on producing my feature.  That way these two foci don't compete.  Broke Bridget can remain about finances (most of the time), while Twitter is about filmmaking.

these sort of happy hands in the air ... yaaaay twitter!

My goal is to put $10K toward my school debt by the last day of 2016.  Let's do this, Rocky style!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Appreciating Ellen

Last night around 11:30pm, No Country for Old Men came on Showtime.  I'd seen this film only once before, and I think Tommy Lee's acting is perfect - especially at the end.  To prep for my midnight movie, I popped a pot of corn and, while making this snack, my roommate Ellen came home and said to me: "I think that I want popcorn too.  (pause, while she got her stash of corn kernels from our pantry)  It's all your fault."  To which I yelped: "YAAAY popcorn."  Late night kitchen time with Ellen.

the final scene in No Country for Old Men

For three years, I've really enjoyed living with Ellen Who Sneezes Loudly.  Her room's on the second floor, while mine is on the third, and it's always been a pleasant surprise when I'm sitting at my desk typing - like I'm doing at this very moment - and I hear Ellen's loud whisper from the foot of the stairs.  "bishop.  ...  Bishop?  ...  BISHOP!"  So I'll poke my head around the corner.  "Oh, hi Bishop. Can I ask you a question?"  There are other roommate routines that amuse me; that have made Ellen become the homiest and the most comfortable roommate I can remember living with in a long time.

Last summer it wasn't uncommon for me to write a blog post reporting that I had about a dollar to budget out over the next two weeks, until my next payday.  Last summer was financially brutal, and I remember once Ellen lent me $20 for a weekly MBTA pass (which is public transit, for those who do not reside in Boston).  Ellen lets me use her drying rack for my wet laundry.  She turns off the lights when I fall asleep while reading.  All the plants making our apartment beautiful belong to her.

the red line of Boston's MBTA

Ellen is a generous and stupendous roommate and, after 14 years in the apartment, Ellen is moving.

There's a group of loyal Broke Bridget readers, and Ellen's always been in this group - from the very first blog post.  While I usually thank all readers, tonight I'm gonna thank Ellen Who Sneezes Loudly:

Thanks for having the cable bill in your name, Ellen, and patiently waiting to be repaid.  In many ways, you transform our apt into a home.  It hasn't always been easy.  We had that squabble about the dying plant in the kitchen and, although I don't think it was really about the plant, our squabble was still nasty.  But we got past that, and over these last three years I think we've synced up to be really compatible housemates.  When I'm out with friends and giving an update, I typically recount something funny you've done.  I speak about you and everything you do around the house with great gratitude as well as sincere affection.  Good luck in your new home, and thank YOU for everything.

A loud sneeze.  A high five.  The warmest wishes xoxo.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Appreciating Ernest

Ernest Miller Hemingway, whom I'm finally coming to appreciate and understand, once said:

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and [you] bleed.

I realized that I have not shared many specifics about the screenplay I adapted from a novel.  Part of my hesitation is that, in the filmmaking industry, you typically keep hush hush about "projects in development" - a term that means the script is prone to rewrites, an agent hasn't been picked up to represent the screenplay, and cast plus crew are still being collected.  Also scriptwriters keep quiet to protect work - if it is a good idea, sometimes it gets stolen, even when the script is copyrighted.

Virginia Woolf by artist Sarah Maycock

I am a writer who focuses on paragraphs.  I cannot move on from a paragraph til it's as perfect as I can make it in that moment.  Last year I read Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, which is a beautiful novel, and her paragraphs astonished me.  Not only a reader and a writer, I'm a cineaste also.  I AM DEVOTED TO CINEMA and, after finishing Virginia's book, I wanted to watch a modern adaptation of To the Lighthouse.  Except there is not a modern adaptation, and so I wrote my own.

I've come to feel comfortable sharing this info, which is precious to me, because writing my adapted screenplay was the hardest thing I've ever written.  I used up most of my brain juice, and here's what I mean:  I used to have a great memory, like 90% recall - like Truman Capote good - like I remembered exact wording a week after the conversation, and the other person would respond with something like "Holy crap that's cool as much as it's unnerving."  My memory was terrific.  But it's not anymore.  My brain basically died when I was writing the script.  Because Virginia's writing is so unearthly.  It's detailed.  It's complicated in the way emotions are complicated, in the way that usually we're holding at least three different perspectives about one thing.  (For ex, thoughts in a head:  "I really like clean floors!  Oh groan, but the cleaning process.  Oh smile, but the cleanliness. Oh shrug, but we're gonna make them dirty by the end of the day - again."  Multiple and conflicting perspectives.)  Embracing the challenge, I worked hard to translate this classic piece of literature about a large British family into a screenplay.  I got migraines, and now I can't remember shit.  I have poop for brains.  Swiss cheese inside the noggin.  Why am I comfortable sharing specifics about the screenplay now?  Because I know / hope nobody is foolish enough to turn their brain into poop too.

And because it's not much fun to make a film.  I am committed, and I want modern audiences to love Virginia.  With substantial financial backing, an ensemble cast, and a crew, I know this can happen. However, bringing all these pieces together is tedious and administrative.  Right now I'm doing several things with the script, none of which are especially exciting, and those things are as follows:

[1]  A theatre director has the script, and she's going to give me feedback.  Ultimately I am going to be the director of my movie, but over these next few months I am workshopping and possibly rewriting the script whenever a reader presents his or herself.  So now I'm waiting for this (busy) director's responses and remaining alert for any other filmmakers interested in reading the script.

[2]  It's time to host a table reading of the script, which falls under the workshopping umbrella.  A table reading is a group of actors sitting around a table, reading the script.  Since To the Lighthouse is an ensemble cast, a table reading would let me hear (for the first time) all of the characters' voice (and perspectives!) coming together.  There are movie houses and theatres that produce table readings of scriptwriters' works.  A few nights ago I submitted an application plus the script to a NYC-based group called The Drawing Board.  And just to re-emphasize how exciting this development stage is not, I now wait for The Drawing Board to let me know if they like and select my script for their monthly table reading.  Waiting. Waiting. But waiting with devotion to Virginia.

[3]  Several months ago I mentioned I was communicating with a publishing company called Boosey & Hawkes (B&H).  Their headquarters are in London, and they have the rights to a song that'll hopefully feature throughout the movie.  Before granting any music license, the publishers sort of interview an applicant on how the music will be handled, to ensure B&H agree with the song's usage.  Also the duration of usage affects the price of the license - longer duration, larger price.  I think last week (because I have no memory anymore) I completed their survey, which required a detailed description of the film project.  Their processing speed is slow.  I'll hear back from them about the next stage of this licensing procedure by the end of the year, in a few months.  However - and this is interesting - that's typical.  Did you know Paul and Ringo meet only once a year to discuss all the requests for Beatles songs?  Only once a year!  ...  To continue our theme, I continue to wait.

Waiting is a large part of the independent filmmaking game, and I'm glad to be in the game, so I'm not complaining.  In fact, I actually prefer how I feel now over the high level of excitement I felt several months ago.  The honeymoon period is over, and still I remain committed.  I've actually done alot of inner prep to bring myself to this place of networking.  You know bellows, for fireplaces?

I needed to gird my homebody loins with a whopping dose of extroversion.  I've spent time bellowing my inner fire so it's less mellow.  Because how do I get any director to read my screenplay?  I have to talk to them and ask them.  How do I feel about a table of actors reading my script?  I feel nervous and shy, but I gotta shake that.  Day by day, step by step, application by application, over the next few years there are alot of folks who are gonna help bring Virginia's Lighthouse to modern audiences. It was exhilarating to complete my script, and I couldn't have pushed thru such challenging writing without endorphins galore, but I welcome this downshift to a steadier autocruise. Being an introvert accustomed to lounging at home, all the networking I've written about has been a steep learning curve for me.  I might be waiting, but I'm doing so actively.

Ernest Miller Hemingway, whom I'm finally coming to appreciate and understand, also said:

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

Postscript:  Becca Bear, I'm having an Ernest Hemingway sort of summer.  I'll write when the storm settles, but you're on my mind xoxo.  Second postscript:  Thanks to YOU for being wonderful YOU !!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Belvedere Castle

Anyone catch yesterday's Arts section of The New York Times?  I really like the Times.  It's the only newspaper I set aside an hr to read.  I love reading the Arts section because I'm reminded of the fact that I should be living in New York City.  I should be living on the West Side or in Brooklyn.  I should be going to vegan diners and writing in that amazing City, but it's expensive.  If I'm almost financially dead in Boston, sheesh, I don't want to imagine what my monetary status would be in the Big Apple.

On the cover of yesterday's Arts section, there was an article titled "A $300 Million Quest To Restore Central Park," with an emphasis on the restoration of Belvedere Castle.  Each time I visit NYC, I stroll Central Park - except I had never been to Belvedere Castle.  UNTIL earlier this year.  A dream came true:  As I leapt up the stone steps to the Castle, for the first time, I was ecstatic. This landmark had been on my bucket list for a very very very long time.  (I try to keep the bucket list simple and attainable.  I try...)  I think Central Park's important, and I clearly remember that happy day when I got to roam about the Castle - smiling at the walls as my hands ran over cold stone bricks.  I liked this article being on the cover page of the Arts section and, when Belvedere Castle is restored after the ten-year campaign, I am going to return to this urban gemstone within the amazing New York City.

"hey there, belvedere castle.  the restoration doctors are coming soon."

That's it for today.  I just appreciated the Times' journalism.  I'm glad this 144-year-old monument is going to receive some overdue attention from the Central Park Conservancy and other advocates.  

Long live cities.  Long live YOU xoxo.