Behind the Camera

The stories behind the stories. The reasons to write the films. And other various thoughts.

Loop by Loop

It all started with a little poem my sister and I used to sing to each other growing up. Perhaps you know it:

Inch by Inch
Row by Row
Gonna make this garden grow
All I need is a rake and hoe and a piece of fertile ground…

It goes on.

The strangest thing about singing this song as we grew up was the fact that we never gardened. We never so much as went out to plant flowers. The most we did was plant seeds in science class. But still, we would sing that song to each other.

Years have passed since then, but my ability to get that little diddy stuck in my head has never left me. Combine that with the fact that I habitually adapt known melodies and songs to fit into a completely different context (i.e my life),  and you see the roots of my Ode to Yarn, “Loop by Loop.”

The song didn't come out fully formed. It took hours and hours of crocheting to arrive at it. And still longer to put it on paper.

Because I would just sing this song to myself. Sometimes out loud. Mostly not. Just humming the melody as I crocheted. Trying to create rhymes where none existed. Finally, one day I wrote it down on paper. I fell in love with the idea (although I admit it was somewhat crazy) to film myself singing this song, or half singing, half speaking; as I would if I were actually making a piece.

My director came in and asked if I could look like I was just being caught on camera. Completely oblivious to the fact that I was being taped. And most importantly, I would be surrounded by crazy amounts of yarn. Or crocheted fabric that I had made over the years. I'll admit that I dug deep into my closet. Some of the pieces of this set are over ten years old. And those sleeves that I knit; I made those 5 years ago. We layered and layered the swaths of fabric, trying to enclose me as much as possible. And then, just barely have my toes peaking out.

So here it is, Loop by Loop.

We had so much fun making it. Please enjoy the site of me drowning in yarn. And know that little acting went into the making of this film.

The Key

It all started after one of the longest tech days of my life. I had just returned to my dorm room. Or, correction the hallway to get to my dorm room. That year, this was a studio apartment that I lived in by myself. It was a Friday night. It was around 11:30.

I put my key in the door. It didn’t open. Ok. This had happened before. I would have to nurse it open. Fine. Not ideal. But fine. I can do this. I put my bags down. I tried the lock again. Jiggled the key back and forth. It wouldn’t budge. Hmmm. Try again. Nope. And again. Maybe if I try it this way? How about this way? Nothing. Give it a rest.

My hand was starting to hurt. Had I locked the door improperly that morning? Done something different? That morning was so long ago. I couldn’t remember. But my door jammed sometimes. This was a thing that happened. It hadn’t happened recently. But it did happen.

I tried my lock again. No game. Nothing worked. Maybe someone would help me? I heard the girl next door’s speakers blaring. She was friendly. Maybe she would help. I knocked on her door. “Hello? I’m locked out of my room, any way you can help me?” The music abruptly went quiet. There was no response. There was silence. She was waiting for me to go away. I knocked again. Nothing.

Ok. I thought. I’ll try my door again. I jiggled it back and forth. Over and over again. Nothing worked. I begrudgingly realized that I would have to go downstairs and ask the security guard for help. I arrived downstairs, and explained the situation. By this point, it was 11:50. He stared at me. Blankly.

Did he not understand what was going on? “Did you try jiggling it back and forth?” “Of course.” I told him. Of course I tried. That’s why my hand is so red. “Well why don’t you go back upstairs and try again?” “It won’t work.” I replied. Nothing had worked. “Try again. If it doesn’t work, come back down.” He told me.

“Is there something you will do if the door doesn’t open for me when I try again?” I asked. “I’ll call the locksmith.” He replied.

“Can we skip the step where I try again, and just call the locksmith now?” I asked. “Just go try again.” He said. I let out a deep sigh.

Why wasn’t he helping me I wondered? I went back upstairs. And then it hit me. He thought I was drunk. In my deliriously exhausted state, he thought I had been drunk. It was, after all, a friday night. But I never drank. I was just exhausted.

I got up to my apartment. The music was blasting again. Rude. I tried the lock. Nothing. Still didn’t work. I called my sister in tears. “My lock. IT won’t work” I cried. I collapsed on the floor. I was a wreck. I was so close to my bed. It was just on the other side. I just wanted to sleep. Was that too much to ask?

My sister listened to my whimpers sympathetically. I stood up. Tried the lock in the door.

It worked. Suddenly the door opened. For no reason. No reason for it to be jammed. No reason for it to open now. I let out a cry. “ARE YOU OK???” I heard my sister yell. “It worked!!!” I said. “It opened.”

“HOORAY!!” She said. I opened the door. Said goodnight. Collapsed on my bed.

That was the inciting incident for this short. Dramatizing the agony of doors not working and the inexplicable logic for them working again. The agony and ecstasy of apartment doors.

Yarn Magic

Yarn Magic was probably one of the most fun pieces to write. Why? 1. Because I play a fairy. 2. Because I play a fairy 3. I finally got to write for one of my best friends. 

 I wanted to write a piece about the magic of yarn. I especially wanted to write a piece that dramatized what people perceived as the magical process of turning yarn into an object.

 I have often been confronted by the perception that crocheting a hat takes no time at all. It’s just magic. And, ok. I’ve been crocheting for 12 years, a hat hardly takes any time. But it’s not magic. I do have to sit for six hours and make the thing. I can’t just wave my wand and make a hat appear out of thin air. Like our yarn fairy. (Oh that I could.) 

 Conversely, I have been approached by people thinking that crocheting is absolutely impossible. Yes, ok. It is a challenge. Goodness knows it took me just about forever to master. But it’s doable. And it is sort of magic when you can take a skein of yarn and turn it into a scarf or a hat. 

 Those were the life experiences that contributed to Yarn Magic. 

 The film influences: 

 I wanted to write a piece that had magic in it. Special effects through editing. Like the early early black and white films. Like Melies’ films. I had been working with the inspiration of the early black and white films from the beginning of B12. 

Keeping things simple. No dialogue. Lots of classical music. But the Chaplin/Melies films had something more. There was a mischief to them. There was a spirit and jovial energy to them. I hadn’t yet written my own version of that. It seemed entirely appropriate, therefore, for me to be a yarn fairy who turns yarn into clothes.  

 I was overjoyed to marry two of my loves, crocheting and filmmaking in this piece. Hopefully you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Shredding Heartbreak

Breakups are inevitable in life. Unless you’re one of those unicorns who meets the love of their life, and never breaks up with them, and never sees anyone else, breakups are inevitable. (If you are in that category, congratulations? I guess)

Some relationships just fizzle over time. You both come to the understanding that it’s time to let go. Others end with terrible strife and drama, and buckets of tears. Still others end in a cold, clean somewhat calculated manner. Every one of these is an explosion within your own life. Whether it’s the change in status quo, or a breath of fresh air, there is still a moment when it seems like everything has changed.

I wrote Shredding Heartbreak in the wake of a break up. It was a bad break up. The kind with buckets of tears, the desire to rip someone’s head off, and lots of gelato. It took time. But I moved past it. Onto other parts of life. Then a figurative explosion happened in another friend’s life, and I decided to write a short about breakups. But I didn’t want to write a short where the guy ‘wins.’ As it where. I wanted to write a short that shows the real devastation and emotional roller coaster that arrives with a breakup. One moment you’re shredding pictures, with glee. The next moment you need fro-yo. The next, you sit on the couch with your best friends.

Breakups are rarely dramatized, in movies, as they are in real life. People think real life is boring. But this story wasn’t so boring to me. The truth wasn’t boring to me. The idea of a healthy breakup, mourning process wasn’t boring to me. And I wanted to write a short for the break up I didn’t have. For the breakup I wish I had.

I was desperately alone when my break up happened. I had none of my friends around me. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I couldn’t even recognize that it was such a big deal, myself. What if that had been different? What if I had had my best friends there for me to shred pictures. To take care of me? To go to the movies. To just understand. Wouldn’t that be the most comforting, realistic portrayal of a break up? Where it’s not all tears. But it takes time to recover. That’s what this short is. I hope you enjoy. I hope you pause afterwards, and just say, “Yeah. Yeah, that’s right.”