Archive for the ‘The Way It Is’ Category

My Work Clothes

March 19, 2012

It is a chilly spring in Silver Lake. (Taken with instagram)

On Vacation I Took This Picture of My Friend

March 10, 2012

Sunscreen reapply stop! We are getting our sunny workout in! (Taken with instagram)

BY AUGUST 15 Snail Mail My Email

August 10, 2011

Transcribed and mailed email via the Snail Mail project.

I’m a big fan snail mailing notes to friends and family. From my end, the sender’s side of things, it can be almost as immediate as email— the friend comes to mind cuz I see something that reminds me of them or remember a good time we had or recall a post I saw on their FB wall, whatever the catalyst, I can grab a postcard, write a note and stamp it in about as much time as it might take to send an email if my computer is off or my wireless router being a jerk.

Then they get a personal, tangible hello-thought from me in the mail… something they might not be able to click to load but they can hold in their hands and touch. I like the idea that the moment I was thinking about them is exponentially elongated. I write it down. It exists beyond my brain — paper is involved not just synapses. Then I send it and it travels through lots of places… it’s now a well-traveled thought. Then it arrives many days later than when it was generated and it’s resurrected by my friend who experiences it for the first time. Then they respond to it — whether it be a smile, an email, a thought sent back to me over the psyche super-highway of vibrations. Whatever it is, the thought has now chain reacted into so much more than it was a week before when I thought of the friend.

If you have the same adoration for letter writing, then you’ll fall in love with this month-long public art project called Snail Mail My Email. And, if you do NOT have an “appreciation for the lost art of letter writing,” you need to let this project try to get you to remember the power of the pen. Here’s their MO:

Snail Mail My Email is a month-long (July 15 – August 15), interactive community art project which seeks to both share the warm-fuzzy feeling of receiving a personalized letter as well as inspire people to send their own snail mail. Anyone with internet access can partake by simply sending an email, after which the very same message will be handwritten and physically mailed to the chosen recipient anywhere in the world, completely free of charge. In a culture overrun with instant gratification and on-demand services, this project cultivates appreciation for the lost art of letter writing.

I love this postage included business. Bam! You can also get one “custom option” per letter — stuff like a lipstick kiss or a doodle. The project, intended to reinvigorate appreciation for letter writing, is a world-wide enterprise with letters having been sent all over the world. I bet being one of those volunteers is so fun and strange. They are a part of strangers lives in this sorta intimate way of handwriting personal correspondence… and doodlefying it too.

An example of a Snail Mailed email from their Flicker feed.

The Biggest Things to Happen in the Last Two and a Half Weeks

July 27, 2011

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1. I got an iPhone. You weren’t joking. It has taken me to the next level of everything — communicating, productivity, creativity (instagram = insta-artistry), and Scrabble prowess.

2. I delivered draft 3 of Untitled Earthquake Movie. It’s the leanest the script has ever been and I tried something new with the Fake-Out-Love-Story B Plot. I wonder what the guys will say.

3. I got my car washed today. First time in ????? It was a safety precaution because I couldn’t see out the back window so well. See an instagram photo from the lathering in the slideshow above — combo of #1 and #3 awesome happenings!

4. The magical black and white cat that is an harbinger of success has taken to HANGING OUT ON MY FRONT PORCH. Usually he/she enjoys the rugged hillside that’s visible out my kitchen window but these days he/she must have something special brewing or me if he/she is on my doorstep. Success is on my doorstep. It’s black and white.

Put a Horse in the Picture

July 12, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a picture of me and a horse. Feast your eyes on these! Every Tuesday afternoon, I bemoan my evening riding lesson, annoyed at its interruption in my workflow. And every Tuesday at 8:15 PM, I’m joyous. That’s what happens after I spend time riding horses. Note to ya’ll, if you need a favor or to tell me something that might piss me off, do it on a Tuesday night. Chances are the “horses high” will give you the advantage. Here’s some shots from last week’s trip on “Minnesota,” a bay warmblood!

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I still can’t wait to make a horse movie one day. In the meantime, I’m already obsessed with Spielberg’s WAR HORSE. See the Teaser below.

A Catalyst for Invention

June 14, 2011

Last weekend, Conan O’Brien gave a graduation speech at Dartmouth after he received an honorary doctorate of the arts from the college. He did it from behind a tree stump-podium. No joke. Except the one he made about the Ralph-Waldo-would-be-proud-soapbox.

Conan was hilarious, but he was also incredibly honest and insightful. He admitted that he hadn’t spoken to graduating students since giving a commencement speech at Harvard (his alma mater) in 2006. He explained that he had refused invitations since then because he had nothing more to say until now… until after what happened in 2010 to him, his dreams, his career, and his outlook on his work and life.  I laughed OUT LOUD multiple times during his speech, but the core message of his address struck a cord with me. It went a little something like this:

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized… Whether you fear it or not, true disappointment will come but with disappointment comes clarity, conviction and true originality.” – Conan

I couldn’t agree more. I remember the day one of my greatest fears came true. It was devastating enough to be seared into memory so that a visceral response occurs even now when I revisit that moment. Back then, a boatload of tears followed the moment. Then nausea. Then more sobbing. Then laying on the floor and staring — luckily good friends, were there to stare and lay too. Then not eating. Then eating a lot of M&Ms and salty things and thai food. Then mantras to get through the day. Then slow, slow, painfully slow healing that took longer than I’m gonna say here.

But even in all that ugly, there was a crystal clear light that never flickered — the whisper of the “clarity, conviction and originality” that were to come. Sure, they were far off — I still had muck to wallow in and I was gonna do it, gosh darn it! BUT the glimmer was there even in the darkest moments of implosion. Conan is right. I just never could say it as well as he has.

Conan went on to tell the graduating students that, yes, they have dreams now but that those dreams will evolve and be different when they are 32 or 42. He said, “whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change and that’s OK.”

This too was special to me because it’s giving permission to yourself to be your best, most achieving, most satisfied and yet ambitious self… even if that self isn’t achieving the dream you had when you were 22. Or even 12. Not everyone can be She-Ra and I’m starting to be okay with that. Thanks, Conan.

Check out his address on his site and see what’s special/hilarious about it to you. Or just watch it below. Or read the full transcript of it below the video.

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Pause for Powder

April 9, 2011

I’m headed out to Snowbird, Utah for the annual ski trip with the usual suspects (Katie Simon! Jason Christopher!).

When I return, I’m starting writing the UNTITLED EARTHQUAKE MOVIE, which means I’ll be back ON IT with the blogs. Get ready!

The Popcorn Trials

February 10, 2011

Any friend of the Christopher family knows that we love popcorn. However, no one’s krazier for kernels than the pun lover of the family, my dad, Alex. My dad makes a bowl (or three) of popcorn pretty much every night. Over the years, he has perfected ratio of salt to olive oil to properly dress a batch; I’m still in training. Needless to say, the sound and smell of popping corn are staples in my childhood memories. It was much more hull-some than growing up in a meth lab.

This year my brother and I really exploited my dad’s popcorn passion (I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before!) and made it a popping Christmas. We gave him sixteen varieties of gourmet kernels and the best popcorn maker he’s ever had. It was up to him to determine which kernel was the most a-maize-ing. He established the qualifying criteria and devised a rating system.

Welcome to The Popcorn Trials.

Though The Trials are ongoing, I asked my dad for an insider look at his findings because I’m in the market for a 2011 kernel. Here is the latest batch of results from his lab (aka my parents’ kitchen):

Congrats Joey!

January 31, 2011

Joey Jones is a fantastically talented filmmaker, teacher, animator and story-structure hound. We met years ago when I was doing festivals with SOCK IT TO ME, my Northwestern senior thesis film, and he was making the same rounds with his beautiful film LITTLE RED PLANE. He and I have stayed friends and fans of each others since those days. For the last six months, Joey’s company, Shadedbox, has been working on all character animations and the saloon environment for this: RANGO. (Trigger did the interactivity and site build).

Shadedbox is very proud of the work – AS THEY SHOULD BE! You can already tell it’s FANTASTIC! Congrats, Joey!

The War of Art

November 10, 2010

While reading DEDICATION (which now that I’m at the mid-point, I totally get why a friend-executive wants to make it a film but is looking for the right “take” which I fully intend to deliver to her because I understand and love this story), I’m rationing the last of the incredible WINNING THE INNER CREATIVE BATTLE by Steven Pressfield.

This book has blown my mind and kicked my ass. It’s brilliant, inspiring and funny, and its chapters are short and to the point. It’s like it’s a bible to my artistic side – I apply its philosophies and lessons to directing, writing, filmmaking. Yet, there is not one word about story structure or blocking.

The best part? I bought it for $4 at the weekly used book sale at the Edendale Library. I couldn’t resist that cover.


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