Day 110: A Mother of Inspiration

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Day 110:  A Mother of Inspiration

Day 110.  Two hours and eight minutes.  That’s how long I was on the phone with my mother this afternoon.  It started on my drive home from the oral surgeon—had another follow up, everything seems to be healing well—and continued until dinnertime.  I wanted to check in with her and see how Deanie’s basketball game went—Deanie is my sister’s son named after my dad, Dean.  Last time we spoke she and Dad were planning on going.  The conversation eventually migrated to talking about me—as usual—and my film projects.  Since I moved to Los Angeles my mother has been a constant cheerleader and source of support, motivation and inspiration for me.  She also happens to be a major movie buff.  She’s been collecting movies for years.  Do you remember when movies were briefly on those ginormous CD’s the size of records?  She has like 200 of them.  I think maybe the disc player took a crap but I can’t tell you how many times we watched The Shining or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or Romancing the Stone on that thing.  Half way through the movie you had to turn the disc over.  She moved to VHSs, which she has tons of those and now of course, she has DVDs too.  Bottom line, we’re both cinefiles.  We love movies.  We are total nerds and quote our favorite characters all the time—whether from Tootsie, The Big Chill, Star Wars, or True Grit.  She was a big investor in my film short and has read every feature script I’ve ever written and has been through every “almost,” “maybe” and “not happening” moment with me in the last 20 years.  What slays me is, how can she possibly still believe I’m actually going to finally make a movie this time?  I’ve been trying for so long!  Why would she expect different results?  Why would I?  Probably because I was birthed from her loins and therefore we are cut from the same crazy cloth.  We’re the definition of insanity:  we’re doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Movie Mogul Mother and Me!

We then got talking about the first feature script I ever wrote.  She had dug out a copy I sent her many moons ago and was rereading it.   She said, “I just loved how her psychiatrist turned out to actually be a patient in the end just like her and then they escaped the insane asylum together.”  I had a flair for the dramatics and I was highly influenced by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—another fav film of mine.  I even had a character, Nurse Shaltz, in it who was eerily similar to Nurse Ratched.  And there was a dead guy in the first 10 minutes.  Insanity and death were themes for me even in my 20s.  I think the year was like 1996 or 1997 maybe?  Mom thinks it was even earlier than that because the paper has turned yellow on her copy.  I don’t know for sure.  I can’t remember.  I’ll have to see if I can find the copyright certificate and double-check the date.  I’m pretty sure I was only recently married when I wrote my first full-length script.  Oh wait, maybe I wrote it before I ever got married?  Hell, maybe it was more like 1993?  Whatever, I was somewhere in my 20’s.  The point is, my dear sweet cheerleader of a Mother was telling me how good it was.  What a love!  After I first finished that script, she and I actually did a “location scout” in the same town she was just in seeing the basketball game.  There’s this really creepy, abandoned old insane asylum there that I wanted to use as the main location.  She said when we were walking through the halls and went into one of the rooms she turned around and I was gone.  Apparently I’d left her in one of the loony bins all alone!  Oh what fun we’ve had.  Oh what fun we’re still having.  On the drive over Laurel Canyon she helped me brainstorm my character’s backstory to help figure out how he ended up with his current, rather dismal outlook in life.  I’m a little stuck because I haven’t nailed him down yet.  I’m still not sure yet but Mother urged me to keep going and get to a first draft.  “How can you make a movie if you don’t have a script?” she said.  Wise woman!  A mother knows.  A mother knows.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have…support from maternal sources.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.

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