Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
I’ve been going nonstop since the two year mark of Daddy’s passing. I was on a plane at 6am on February 29th. Interestingly enough, I was on a plane the day after he died. Only it was March 1st since 2014 wasn’t a leap year. It set off a two month traveling spree that took me from Missouri to California to New Orleans to New Hampshire to Las Vegas to New Jersey to New York to Missouri and back home again. Perhaps a way to run from the pain and permanence of loss? I don’t know but it feels good to be in motion. Death is so still.
This travel spree started with a last minute trip to New York City for Uh-Mazing Romantic Partner Tim’s 100th episode party for his old show Bar Rescue and my best friend Finnerty Steeves in the fabulous play DOT, off-broadway. We got to visit the 9-11 Memorial Museum. Gut wrenching. Stunningly sad. An incredibly beautiful memorial. We got to see old friends and laugh and drink and be merry.
The merriment continued when I got on another plane three days later to fly to Missouri to see my dear mother, my sweet sisters and my niece and god-child…now god-woman. It was both a celebration of My Dad and a Las Vegas reunion of sorts. Last summer, we went to Vegas to take my then newly 21 year old niece to gamble and see the Chippendales. A similar male revue, The Thunder From Down Under, was doing their show at my Mom and Dad’s favorite casino in Osceola, Iowa. A mere half hour from their farm. How could we not go to that?! Crown Royal was consumed, tears were shed, rippled male abs and buns were viewed…good times were had.
Four days later, I was back on a plane home where Uh-Mazing Romantic Partner and his parents already were. We took them to our favorite local restaurant, Bourbon Steak, and the next day did something we’d probably never do if they weren’t in town…we went to the California Science Center to see the Space Shuttle downtown. It was actually awe inspiring. Why don’t we do more cool shit like that? Something to work on.
And now. Right now I’m sitting in a cozy little condo looking out at snow covered ground. I’m on Mammoth Mountain. Tim is an avid skier and me, well, I jumped at the idea of quiet, creative time in a beautiful setting. Plus, we haven’t been up here since 2011. Five years. Hard to believe it’s been that long. But here we are. Tim’s skiing and I am sitting in front of my computer typing these words. A warm up to what I came for…to finish a little polish on my screenplay, Death Over 3 Bottles of Wine, and wrap my head around my director’s vision so I can finally begin to actually make it into a living, breathing movie I can show you.
I’m supposed to be deep into pre-production right now but I’m not. My amazing producer, Brenda Collins-Decesare wants to shoot in May. I love where her head’s at but, alas, that’s not going to happen. Why? I’m not ready. I haven’t done the work. Why? I’m scared of it. Why? I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. My beginning of the year video declaration that I will direct it…my directorial debut…has me stuck. When I’ve never done something before, when I don’t know how to do something, it paralyzes me and I move at a glacial pace.
I have made a little movement forward. I had a budget and schedule done for it. And I’ve been reading, doing research, and I have a look book with casting inspiration, visual references, the start of a concept for the tone of the film…BUT I haven’t made any real, key decisions yet. This week, I hope to remedy that. To grow a set of balls, get brave and dive in. What camera do I want to use? Do I want to shoot multi-camera in real time? Which was my original vision when I began writing the script back in 2010. My Executive Producer LOVES that idea because it could potentially cut our shoot days in half. Thus, saving time, money and resources.
I was fortunate enough to get to connect with the incredible producer, Sophia Lin, who generously did a preliminary budget and schedule for me, while I was in NYC. She was very encouraging about me directing. I drank her encouragement in like a woman walking out of a desert after days with no water. Not only is she a huge supporter of women in film, she’s a crazy talented producer and overall bad-ass. We talked of women uniting and supporting each other and making films by and about women. She lit a fire under my ass.
So, here I am on this long road to making my next movie, a woman whose ass is on fire but who doesn’t exactly know what the hell she’s doing. Where to next? The script, of course. The place it all begins. After that, who knows? We’ll see where the road leads me.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…roads to travel, fires to burn, movies to make.