Saturday, November 5, 2011

God's Will & The One that Didn't Get away.

Pinch me, somebody.

A week ago Thursday, I accepted a job that has all the earmarks of being "The One." The Dreamy McDream Job.
(Please indulge me a little Seattle-based humor even though I'm really not moving to Seattle...)

In all seriousness: it seems to literally be the job I have been describing throughout my past two years at Franciscan University, whenever anyone would ask me what I wanted to do with my degree.

"I don't know, I would love to find a small Catholic company with a message I really believed in that I could do media and marketing for." -Direct quote from me, throughout my past two years at Franciscan University, whenever anyone would ask me what I wanted to do with my degree.

Please believe that I am not gloating here, I'm in shock still, and more than a little humbled.

The desperation most Americans are feeling for want of work has never been more obvious to me. The enthusiasm and well wishes from my colleagues, friends and family have been at a level that five years ago might have been reserved for a new baby. To be handed an opportunity to work in my field, for a company I believe in, for a fair salary, seems almost too good to be true.

I've spent the past week working myself into a quiet froth of standard new-job anxiety ranging from dilemmas like:
"Mom, I have NO dress pants. Absolutely NONE."
"Do I admit that I own a copy of the Divine Office, but simply find it too frustrating to properly learn it? OR, do I spend this next week googling my way to expertness and pretend I've been practicing this Universal devotion for years?"(Okay. Maybe that one is only standard in extremely Catholic office settings.)

The night after I accepted the position, I went to a Halloween party where kept people asking me: "What did you do? Literally. What did you DO? Where did you look, what prayers were you saying, What did you DO?!?"

That's the question that's been bothering me for the past week: What DID I do to deserve this?

I think the answer is that I don't.
(That doesn't mean what it sounds like.)

I had several "near misses" in the past six months of relentless job-hunting, where an opportunity would come around and LOOK for all intents and purposes like the spitting image of God's Will in my life. Retract that time frame. The past two years at least have been a real lesson in the fact that what I THINK should be His will for me, isn't always. That God's Will may not come in the timing I expect or the packaging I think it should.

To me, being offered this job is clearer proof than ever that He HAS a plan, and He will continue to let me in on it on a need-to-know basis.

Revelation part II is that in my co-mingled celebration and anxiety, I'm overlooking the fact that a job like this IS NOT ACTUALLY ABOUT ME. I wanted it specifically because it wasn't. I'm taking it because I believe spreading Capital "T" Truth to my fellow human beings is the most important pursuit I could choose to devote my time to. The fact that I will benefit with creative satisfaction and a roof over my head while pursuing it, is total proof of God's boundless generosity to His children.

I'm an instrument in this role, and all fear abates when I remember it.

Anybody reading this who may still be feverishly searching for work: all I can say is that your triumphs and disappointments are not the game itself, but all part of His bigger plan.

Make sure you return the favor and remind ME of that fact as well from time to time.

Curious about my new digs in the Pacific Northwest?!?

Saint Luke Productions!

Go Check 'em out!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Motion Graphics Demo Reel

Yeah, yeah. In a way its just the same stuff I keep posting again and again, BUT here's hoping you're intrigued enough to click and watch. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

California Photo Teaser

I am safely back from a wildly successful trip to my home state, against all odds and despite some verrry preventative measures by my car. (Note for the future: letting a car with existing electrical issues bake in Airport surface parking for nine days? Poor choice.) I am facing major jet lag, exhaustion, impending responsibility (roughly 36 hours til I start my new temporary job) all rounded out by the fact that I'm just really not ready to be back in Arkansas.

Ergo, I've spent my afternoon drinking tea and looking at vacation pictures.
You can look too if you like:

For the un-initiated: these are gumballs from my gumball ice cream found exclusively at the Scoop Deck in Dana Point Harbor. Yes, i spit them in a cup. It's not gross. Cause I said so. Those of you I saw: I can't even EXPRESS how happy you make me. I'm a lucky girl. Those of you I didn't see (and I know there's a couple...): I'll be back. Sooner rather than later. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July- Official Depressing & Violent Movie Month

July is Official Depressing & Violent Movie Month, and I have therefore done my unflinching part by renting only the most gut-wrenching flicks known to modern man- wait, what's that you say??? July is NOT Official Violent & Depressing Movie Month??? WHAT have I been watching??!??

Correction: July is NOT Official Depressing & Violent Movie Month, but it may feel that way on the Olwell family's Netflix queue. As a family, our movie taste is a little offbeat, and seems to run in patterns, though I'm not sure whats motivating this particular run of films.

Perhaps its the brutal July heat. Perhaps we're subconsciously attempting to keep cool by shedding many tears. Maybe we're trying to remind ourselves that things could be much worse in our lives, ("Yes, there may be sweat dripping into my eyes after a mere walk to the mailbox, but at least I've never had to use my body weight as leverage against a rock in order to break my own arm...")

Here's some reviews in order to help you create or avoid a similar string of movies as you choose. I'm aware none of you may WANT to see any of these movies, but in case you do, watch for spoilers.

1) The Stoning of Soraya M.
It is a testament to my sanitized Western upbringing that I somehow believed this movie was referring to a METAPHORICAL stoning. Not the case. Based on a true story, the title character is stoned to death in a 20 minute long bloodbath after being falsely convicted of adultery. I have never seen anything so disturbing in my entire life. My mother and I were both physically nauseated for two days.

The graphic violence should be no surprise, seeing as the creative crew behind The Passion of The Christ is primarily responsible for this film, but I actually found Stoning harder to watch. If you watch The Passion as a Christian, you can find the meaning behind the gore; Stoning is a depiction of sheer evil and nothing else.

Soraya Manutchehri was stoned in 1986, the execution as depicted is supposedly true to practice. But I have a hard time discerning where the line should be in portraying truth versus glorifying violence. I wonder whether a documentary might have been more respectful than a dramatized rendition of this story, (which wraps up with a Hollywood cliche near-escape car chase? Really?) However, documentary doesn't always pack the punch needed to shock people into caring about an issue. I'm not offering an answer, just advice- don't watch if you've recently eaten.

2) 127 Hours
Danny Boyle, you're my new favorite.

How he manages to take what should be a one-man horrorshow and infuse it with humor, pathos and hope is beyond me. James Franco is awesome- no need to belabor that point.

If I had to criticize anything, I almost feel like Boyle makes this story too accessible. He softens the experience of being trapped alone in a crevice with upbeat music, edgy cuts, and artistic flashbacks. There's a scene where Franco pretends to "interview himself" while berating the choices that led him to be stuck alone in the desert unbeknownst to anyone else in the world. Its a funny scene- (overlayed with a studio audience-inspired laugh track) but while I laughed along, I couldn't help but thinking: "Um, NONE of this is funny. I highly doubt Aron Ralston found one moment of this situation even remotely funny. If this ever happened to me, I would probably never laugh again..."

Even still, I'm eternally grateful to the Passion of the Christ crew for sitting this one out.

3) Another Year
I am typically not a fan of so called "character-based movies". I like plot. I like for things to change and resolve and for lessons to be learned by all. That's, of course, never the way life goes. We do after all watch movies to escape from reality.

Another Year looks at an isolated slice of life among the friends and relatives of one middle-aged married couple in England. I don't know whether to credit superb acting or writing, but the characters crafted in this movie are at a caliber of authenticity not often achieved. You KNOW people like this, you're probably related to some of them. You might not return some of their phonecalls, or wince when they invite you out for drinks. You've maybe given up trying to change them and can only sit back and hope for the best.

The ending is one of those painful cop-outs that makes you want to throw pillows at the screen in betrayal asking the filmmakers WHY in the world they would spend an hour and a half making you care about these people only to leave you so unsure and unsatisfied.

True to life.

4) I Am Number 4
Its pretty depressing that this got made.

5) Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
By the time this one showed up in our mailbox, we'd sort of noted the pattern. And sort of revolted. Both those comments were made:

"You're right, a concentration camp movie would be so appropriate right about now."

"What's this now, the Stoning of Sophie S.?"

Sophie Scholl turned out NOT to be a concentration camp movie, but a film about The White Rose- a movement of German University students who secretly wrote and distributed Anti-Nazi propaganda. The film takes you through the interrogation process of a 21 year old woman arrested a few weeks before the Allies liberated Germany from the Third Reich. Not a whole lot of action here, but plenty of ideas to chew on.

Another true story, it heavily emphasizes the importance of free speech, the value of ideas, and the danger a country puts itself in when it violates those rights. Sophie, her brother Hans, and another friend are interrogated, sentenced and executed within a few days.

Of course.

Which month did you think it was?

Some quick takes:

7) The Lincoln Lawyer
Kinda meh. On the slow, predictable, "I don't really care what happens to these characters" side. I've never really bought what McConaghey's selling, even less so now. Have yet to see Ryan Phillippe in a movie where he DOESN'T play a whiny, rich, jerk.

8) The Fighter
Loved it. Christian Bale in the first hour is almost unrecognizable. It was fun to see Amy Adams in a tough-girl role. And Mark Wahlberg is as always, completely natural as the unassuming, blue-collar, small-town nice guy.

In other news, I plan on making August Official Hilarious & Uplifting Movie Month. Feel free to send me suggestions.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Coldplay's New Vid.

I feel a battling sense of wonder and anxiety over what it must have taken to make this video... I was so taken in by the visuals, I'm not even totally sure what the song itself is like, haha. I think it merits another watch, though. Enjoy. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Draw your Own Life.

This is a short (unfinished of course) animation I did last Fall actually, in Flash. Weird that I never posted it, I always really liked it.

Its to the tune of one of my All-Time Favorite Songs: California Part II by the ever-chill Mason Jennings.

I have been (graduated! and) home in Arkansas now for a little over a week. It feels good, but the phrase: "What are you going to do with your lifeeee?" keeps floating through my psyche.

Maybe I'll draw myself a parachute, not to mention a killer career opportunity, slick city apartment, stupendous summer vacation plans....

Happy Almost Summer to all!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Movie Premiere.

The crowd.
Holy God. There had to be 200 people there. They ran out of seats, so people just sat in the aisles and hung over balconies and stood in the back.
Me talking tres awkwardly and with excessive use of hands about our movie. Did not know I was gonna have to do that, (reference size of crowd, photo 1) but should have suspected.
Big. Freaking. Screen.
Made the whole experience kind of worth it.

Me and Patrick- Director of one of the other films shown.
Jackie and I....quite admittedly losing our minds.
Gerard, (one of my main actors) and Billy, being pretentious Hollywood people.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Look.

It is amazing what writing a paper will do to you. Or just me maybe.

Things that have not interested me in six months suddenly become FASCINATING.

Apparently anytime I want my house cleaned, to catch up with numerous old friends, or to finally begin reading self-help books I stole from home back at Christmas Break, all I have to do is assign myself a paper.

Note: I have cleaned my house more than once in the past six months. There was that time I was studying for midterms back in February.....

I gave up facebook for lent, which has allowed me some interesting insights into my own psyche. Rather than forcing me into greater interaction with real physical people, I have turned to blogging & blog reading with a sort of desperation i did not know I possessed.

Anyway, I designed this new header (roughly six months ago, ha!) and have decided that absolutely NOTHING (apparently not even a philosophy critique) is more important this fine afternoon then adding it to my blog.

I'm telling myself I want to go more professional and begin trying to network through this blog, so its justified, yadda yadda.

Back to Philosophy?

I should probably write my aunt a thank you note for taking me to that play last month....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“If my film makes one more person miserable, I've done my job”

Thank you, Woody Allen, for that gem. I can relate.

Blog's lookin' awkward, and I apologize for that, haha. It badly needs to be re-designed for professionalism (and honestly I couldn't even read the white type on black anymore.)

I haven't officially written anything about my thesis film I'm making, mostly cause there's TOO MUCH to write about. My friend Jackie writes about the filming process HERE.

I spent 11+ hours editing it in a stuffy windowless room yesterday. Ahh the bright stuff upon which we build our futures. I seriously struggle with insomnia this semester. I think I've developed a permanent eye twitch from staring so hard at computer screens.

As I walked home from the editing lab last night I felt seriously crazy. I was hypersensitive to every sight and sound, like I was editing REAL LIFE in my head.

Me: "I think I need to go home and eat something"

Cut to 3 second Mid shot of Jackie listening

Jackie: "You're sure you don't want hot chocolate?"

Cut to Over the shoulder shot of me considering hot chocolate

Me: "No, I'm gonna make eggs."

MUSIC. My favorite thing. I started editing to music yesterday and it just makes all the difference. This is a moody, dramatic sort of film, so I had to comb my music library for any leftover emo songs.

Two songs I've settled on, (if I can get the rights):

DLZ by TV on the Radio
JUST realized this was used in the TV Show Vampire Diaries. Thank you youtube commenters for ruining my song choice. Am trying to not let this affect my decisions....

The Funeral by Band of Horses

I am also CONSIDERING using Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap for a little "redemption montage" I'm cutting together for the final scene.
BUT I'm worried that 500 Days of Summer may forever own this song the way Juno now owns everything by the Moldy Peaches.
The last thing you want during a redemptive montage is some know-it-all in the audience turning to all his buddies and going "Isn't this the 500 Days of Summer Song?"
And then probably talking about how he was a fan of the band WAY before they ever got asked to be in the soundtrack.

Listen and tell me what you think.

And finally here's some poor quality stills I've been meaning to post forever.

For a while I was going to paint these and work them into animated credits a la Spiderman 2, but I think I'm gonna go another route.

And...that's all for now, haha.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alabama, Arkansas.

Kidding. Just Arkansas. Many props to Edward Sharpe for writing me a personalized homesickness anthem though...

Because we are carefree, unattached college students, my friend Bridgette and I up and ditched our Spring break plans to drive home to Arkansas for a week. It was a good decision, despite the fifteen plus hours in the car each direction. A quiet, kinda lazy Spring break was all I could handle / afford this year. And Arkansas in early Spring is so worth it, check it out:

Yes. We have chickens.
Attempting some trendy food photography on St. Patrick's Day...I just dont think Corned Beef is all that photogenic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"There are No Mistakes in Art."

Artsy Fartsy ramblings ahead, watch out.
Voila some spring break work that got finished this week:
And another in progress:

"Digital Fine Art" is one of the classes I'm taking this semester. I know. In what world / major but mine are you required to take a class like that. Please console any jealousy with the thought that I'll never make any money. But see folks, despite my major, I'm a bit of a skeptic where computers and art cross over.

There are so many computer applications out there that allow you to slap a filter on a photo, step back and call yourself an artist. Seriously, its easy to do and in some cases pretty convincing. In the past its been a bit hard for me to consider mousing around on a screen true "art" the same way taking a paintbrush in hand might be.

I wanted to give this class a shot though, and so far I haven't been too disappointed. Photoshop CS5 offers an impressive amount of painting and brush options, with really great blending capabilities like you would be capable of with watercolors. What I've done so far has been fun, easy, (maybe a little TOO easy) and artistically satisfying.

My complaints? Once I finished that top orange-y portrait, the thing I found most disturbing was the lack of mistakes, brush strokes, rough edges. The undo button takes care of any line that seems out of place.

The art teacher I worked with in St. Louis always would always tell the kids: "There are no mistakes in Art." I love that. Its so true. Stuff you first view as "Mistakes" really become part of your creation and the way you express it.

Anyway. Sorry for the sermon. Any art history majors out there wanna school me on the true nature of Art?