I’m smack dab in the middle of a project that has got my creative juices gushing. I know the signs. Right now, I sit at my laptop with 8 screens open alternating between a business plan, notes, my project journal, a poem, whatever. My OmHarmonics play in the background on the creativity track. I love this energetic space.
Physically, I’m in this amazing retreat condo at the base of Mt. Shasta where it is clear so many seekers have sat before and will sit after. I’m in the area attending a retreat that starts tonight. Though it’s mid-June, rain patters on the beautiful organic patio garden filled with greens, herbs, and flowers. (That’s the only kind they have in Mt. Shasta.) I decided to pass on the pre-retreat hike. Hiking in pouring rain…just not my thing. For this state of mind, jammies and listening to the rain fill the need. The vibe is perfect for receiving my next steps in this venture. I imagine how I will receive the information for this calling. I feel it rushing in faster than I can get it down on the page. I don’t just notice synchronicity–I become it.
Then there’s the second part. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. All I can do is open up, listen, and repeat from a slightly disoriented space.
What’s the project? What am I even talking about?
I’m going to make a documentary on children’s mental health called Thrive. Here’s my mission statement of sorts I added to the top of my business plan:
I feel a calling to make “Thrive.” I want to give hope and vision to kids (teens, TAY) and parents looking at a disease kids did nothing to get but be born yet get stigmatized because they have it. That’s just wrong. I truly believe kids can activate the gifts of their condition to change the world (and their lives) in a positive way by learning to manage the challenging parts.
In this way, we all win. There are no others.
Parts of me are terrified about this project because of the “I have no idea what I’m doing part.” Parts of me think I should keep my project hidden in the closet in case it doesn’t pan out in a way that is acceptable to the rest of the world. That’s my ego talking, which after a read of Lissa Rankin’s Anatomy of a Calling, I have dubbed René Bordeaux. (That accent on the “e” is SO my ego.)
The bigger part, though, is that Adventure Whisper I choose to embrace says, “Hell, yes, you’re going to accept this assignment.” That part also is dedicated to letting go of attachment, a gift I received from the monks at Shasta Abbey last month. Instead, I’m really about letting the God who goes by many names play on the planet through me in such fun ways I get giddy thinking about it. My job is to remain open and not let René drive the bus, try as she might.
The way this whole thing started was weird. Here’s the story. My son and his buddy went to Nike Swim Camp at UC Santa Cruz back about 5 years ago. My husband and I stayed in Santa Cruz at a rental with our lab and combined camp drop off and pick up with a trip to Dog Beach and a business visit to the Dean of the Social Documentary Filmmaking Program at UCSC, an internationally acclaimed program–and I believe in the top ten world programs in its niche. The Dean showed us around the school and I heard the Whisper loud and clear: you are to do this program and make a film.
Hunh? I go to movies. And not documentaries. AND I definitely don’t make them. Until then, it had never even crossed my mind to make a film. I could barely work those early video cameras back in the day. I have hours of footage of me walking around with the video camera on when I thought it was off.(Riveting footage we find hysterical, but it’s for a select crowd.)
However, as it does, the Whisper was persistent. Finally, I started looking into the SocDoc program. The problem is UCSC is 5 hours away and going back to school after already having lots under my belt (and not having ANY film background) felt like daunting hurdles I wasn’t ready to jump. Maybe after my youngest left for college the timing would be right. I would reevaluate then.
Meanwhile, I would educate myself in the world of documentaries. I would determine what I like and what I don’t like. I would listen for the film that is my film to make itself known. For the last three years, I have watched about 3 documentaries a week and taken notes to see what works and what doesn’t. I have watched hundreds of documentaries at this point–maybe thousands. I taught a film class at my local spiritual center and was tempted to show all documentaries, but resisted in the name of balance. Turns out, documentaries were the favorites. Through all this viewing, much of which takes place on my daily StairMaster time, I’ve come across many, many different styles and different strategies for both making and marketing films.
One strategy I really liked: offering the film for free for a period of time. Filmmakers like Nick Polizzi (Sacred Science), Pedram Shojai (Origins), and Jeff Hayes (Bought) were all doing this. I was watching as they came out, wondering how they were able to do this without going broke. I didn’t expect to get rich off a documentary, but I definitely didn’t want to go in the hole and do feel like I should be compensated a fair wage for the year (or ten) it takes to make the film. (And so does my husband, right Honey?!)
Then about a month ago these three filmmakers put together this joint venture: Movie Maker Academy. I watched the pitch (and made a few close confidants watch it, too) and decided I liked what they were doing. Best, I could do it online from my own home. The course would be 10 modules over ten weeks which fit perfectly in my summer off time from my practitioner program. There was an application process to join the first Movie Maker Academy and I went through that process to see what happened.
About two weeks later, I was notified that I was accepted. After Module 1 was distributed, I was so excited. This is exactly what I needed to brown up my green. The one thing I’m seeing is that film is such a collaborative process, and this opportunity lets me be in collaboration with others who have done this and who are doing this…to see the way each person’s unique stories play out in film. I wanted to be open and share what I am doing, struggling with, succeeding in–and see that in other’s journeys.
Movie Maker Academy has with it a FB forum and live chats with the Three Movieteers–Nick, Pedram, and Jeff. In that, I have both magical mentors and littermates all across the globe. How awesome is that? The synchronicities are already firing rapidly. Mostly, I love this canvas on which we’ll all collectively paint movies that make movements and lift up the planet in so doing.
That’s a wrap.