A thank you

•October 12, 2013 • 1 Comment

I just got off the phone with Mom and Dad. We talk a couple of times a week usually (it should be more, I know…I suck), and when life happens, it’s more spontaneous and frequent, as it should be. But even if it’s not…even if it’s routine, the times we do speak are meaningful beyond words. We live far apart, so our conversations involve a lot of sharing of our respective worlds. It fills the gap of distance…although fleetingly it may be.

But, I live in two worlds…the “scientist by day” world and the “screenwriter by night” world (what else is one to do when one’s aptitude differs so greatly from one’s passion??) And to truly know their daughter, Mom and Dad had to accept both worlds, even if they didn’t understand them. (Yes…there is a theme here with their eldest daughter, it seems. But I digress.) I can only imagine what it must have been like for them to come to terms with my need for both. The tremendous investment of time, energy and money on a vocation on the opposite spectrum of my true passion as an artist…the toll it’s taken on me (eg chronic sleep deprivation, regular migraines, an irritable bowel, oops…TMI)…I know they worry about me. But Mom and Dad came through it valiantly. They read my crap, endured my struggles, and championed my efforts that got me to where I am at this moment. And they are proud of me and the place I have made for myself in BOTH worlds.

I am making a film. It’s a dream come true. And I am forever grateful to my family and friends that have and continue to support me in both of my worlds.

~ Kim

If you’d like to learn more about my new film entitled Our Own, head on over to www.kimbergie.com

 

Procrastination

•July 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

Disclaimer: This is a stream of consciousness blog. Prepare accordingly.

It’s no secret…I procrastinate. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am exceptional at it. For example, as I type this blog entry, I have 5 pages open in Windows explorer: Twitter, EBay (so far on this fine Sunday morning I’ve searched for my dream car, a 1968-1969 butternut yellow convertible Chevy Camaro, and used Titleist DCI irons), YouTube (trailer to be mentioned later), Title Nine (bathing suit shopping *ugh*), and Facebook.

I call it multitasking.

And I know that’s bullshit.

I am procrastinating and have been actively for a while now. I have rewrites to do and I haven’t picked up the script since May. Yeah…two months. And how does it feel? I am this close (hand gesture of about an inch) to pulling an Arthur Dimmesdale any minute now…ok maybe self-flagellation is a little extreme and I am in no way leaning towards carving a big letter “P” on my chest, but I am very disappointed in myself. I walk around with my script, I glance at the pretty red comments that perfectly contrast with the soothing yellow Post Its that adorn it. But I move on to something else, anything else that catches my eye…”oooh look, something shiny!”

While the power was out last weekend, I read a lot. It wasn’t quality reading, in that I find that when the power is out, you all of a sudden enter survival mode and it’s difficult to really concentrate on anything. Does this happen to anyone else out there? The rain pelts the windows and you hear it transform into hail, then the lightening crashes with almost simultaneous thunder (that’s how you know Mother Nature’s hissy fit is right on top of you) and the dogs freak out and the cat (the only sane one in the bunch) high-tails it to the lowest point in the house…basement, back corner, underneath the old dresser, repeating to himself, “Who cares about the cobwebs and dead spiders ‘cause you’re a cat and you can deal with that just as long as the thing that’s making the terrifying noise and light can’t get you.” And then…..you hear it. Power going out makes a plethora of sounds: the lights click off, all of the electronics in your home emit “death beeps”, the air conditioner sighs into silence. And after you wait an obligatory 5 minutes just in case it’s a tease, you enter survival mode. Find the flashlights, close off the basement (you will be living down there later), call PEPCO to report the outage, DON’T TOUCH THE REFRIGERATOR YOU’LL GET ICE IN THE MORNING! Once everyone has calmed down, you sleep and hope you’ll be awakened by “life beeps” from all of the electronics that are now dead. But, you awake instead because you’re sweating due to the 90+ degree heat. You have to get moving because not only you will be in survival mode, all of Montgomery County will be. You hop in the car on the quest for bags of ice and food you don’t need and batteries you will plow through. Oh and this time apparently gas was going to be in short supply because the lines at the gas stations were reminiscent of a 1970s oil crisis…

Service station in Maryland, June 15, 1979
Wikimedia Commons
Library of Congress

Ok so survival mode. Once all the food is on ice and the little portable lights are stocked with fresh Duracels and you’re sweating profusely due to the aforementioned activity, you sit and read. I know I know…perfect time to write, right??? Apparently not, because I am PROCRASTINATING. (See…I brought it back around, oh ye of little faith.) I pick up a book that I had bought at Barnes and Nobel a while ago but never read (there are a LOT of those in this house) entitled “It Chooses You” by Miranda July.

‘It Chooses You’
Miranda July (2011)

Miranda July is a writer, artist, and filmmaker whose works are very unique and as an artist is somewhat controversial. There are Miranda July haters apparently, and I don’t understand their vehemence, other than they are jealous of her success. She creates whatever…and I like that. “It Chooses You” documents a project born of Miranda’s procrastination which at first had no connection to the screenplay (entitled The Future) she was avoiding, then in the end provided the very essence (in the form of an elderly man she interviewed) of the film she eventually completed. The lesson I took away was very powerful. Procrastination has purpose. As an artist, you have to work through it. It’s tough because there is a lot of self-loathing involved (and it’s not like I’m looking for more reasons to add to THAT list). But that is the nature of the beast, and it forces you to deal and act to create. And from it good, and sometimes awesome, can come. Procrastination is almost…essential.

The following is an excerpt from “It Chooses you” that I particularly liked. When I say that, it means “dang I wish I wrote this!” The author laments the temptations writers struggle with, specifically the pull of the internet and its ability to suck time away and preoccupy one from writing. I read this and know I am not alone. I find I am reading it often.

The funny thing about my procrastination was that I was almost done with the screenplay. I was like a person who had fought dragons and lost limbs and crawled through swamps and now, finally, the castle was visible. I could see tiny children waving flags on the balcony; all I had to do was walk across a field to get to them. But all of a sudden I was very, very sleepy. And the children couldn’t believe their eyes as I folded down on my knees and fell to the ground face-first, with my eyes open. Motionless, I watched ants hurry in and out of a hole and I knew standing up again would be a thousand times harder than the dragon or the swamp and so I did not even try. I just clicked on one thing after another.

–          Miranda July, Excerpt from “It Chooses You” (2011)

Today, limbless, I plan on pulling myself off the ground, castle in sight…after I go buy some new golf clubs.

~ Kim

 

More about “The Future”, a film by Miranda July:

http://www.nowness.com/day/2011/7/26/1533/miranda-july-the-future

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2FuwJh8DSs

Pool Creature Comes Out of Hiding!

•July 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This cannonballing pool creature was spied this past weekend in the backyard of our good friends Maria and Tim. The heat wave and power outages drove it from its sanctuary. It was the first sighting of the creature in over 10 years, as it normally hides it’s fragile, pale skin from the intense rays of the sun and public eye. Caution: do not look directly at the creature…it may blind you.

Click on the creature to view rare footage.

The Hourglass of Death – Month #8

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s March. Month 8 of 12. When March 1st arrived, it was very intimidating…so intimidating, in fact, that I finished my three class assignments a couple of weeks early so that I could devote two full of weekends to the script. I just had to get it out. I was tired of lying awake at night with thoughts of the dreaded “second act sag” and my not-so clearly defined “All is lost” moment swirling in my head. (Cue: Nyquil, sleep aid of choice.) Each of the past two weekends, clad for two solid days in Adidas wind pants and my Heart concert t-shirt (my go-to writing uniform, because those ladies kick ass and thus are my idols), I holed up in the office, shutting out the world and those that I love and enjoy spending what little weekend time I have with, intent on finishing as much of the first draft as possible before I could no longer put off my next class assignment/group project and briefing preparation for work. After two weekends of hardcore writing and militant implementation of the index card method and Save the Cat concepts, all the while under the influence of multiple caffeine-containing products and dark chocolate snacks, I HAVE COMPLETED THE FIRST DRAFT!

I’ll say it again, mainly because I can’t believe I’m saying it and I am trying to convince myself that its really true…

I HAVE COMPLETED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY FIRST FULL-LENGTH SCREENPLAY!!

I sit here listening to the printer churning out my 87 (I know its short and my goal is 90-100 pages…I have some things to add and develop further, all of which are on the mountain of post it notes surrounding me…and all writing is REwriting anyway) pages, and I still can’t believe it. My goal was a first draft by my birthday (in July). Yeah, I blew that goal out of the water. For those that have been following this saga, it wasn’t looking good…the page count was pretty pathetic for while there. But if you are still here, thank you for sharing this victory with me…and thanks for holding me to it.

I am one step closer to a dream.

So, as for the Wicked Witch of the West and her Hourglass of Death…

F*ck you, you b!tch. I did it!

Rock on.

~Kim

The Hourglass of Death – An Update

•February 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I can’t count. This is actually The Hourglass of Death Month 7. I think it was just wishful thinking…giving myself more time. But February is almost over and the elementary math skills that failed me in my previous posts have prevailed…February is Month 7.

They always think there is going to be more time. Then it runs out.

– Dr. Edwin Jenner, The Walking Dead

Update:  45 pages written (I have reached 50% of my goal…and I am pretty jazzed about it!)

Rock on.

~ Kim

The Hourglass of Death: Month #5 – Addendum

•February 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

Update: 10 pages this weekend.

30 down, 60 to go.

Oh yeah! 🙂

The Hourglass of Death: Month #5

•February 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The following is an update on my screenplay…

I wrote two words in December.

Kelly winces.

That’s it.

Seriously.  How can 70 pages be so freakin’ daunting?? 70 pages is nothing. At my day job, I can write 70 pages in my sleep! (Yeah yeah, that includes a few graphs and tables, but c’mon. You get my point.)

So I am revisiting my outline. And my characters. And the scenes I have written thus far. Index card time.

I’d ask y’all to give me a hard time about this, but I have beaten myself up enough already. Time to get to work.

~ Kim

P.S. I got an A in the class I was taking last semester (Microbiology of Biological Threat Agents & Emerging Infectious Diseases). That’s where all of my writing time went. Excuses excuses…

An Awakening

•December 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I love the National Gallery of Art.  I should go more often, it being so close, but I don’t. Every time I go, I see something that sparks the artist within…and I end up spending a boatload in the gift shop. Each trip to the National Gallery is both exhilarating and frustrating, inspiring me to create and reminding me of how little time I have to do so.  I am extremely focused when I go…specifically on the photography exhibits and sketches. The last time I went it was Paris in Transition that drew me. I was completely taken with the exhibit and Dora Maar’s Puppet Hooked on a Fence. I am ashamed to say that was over 4 years ago.

This year I convinced my sister and brother-in-law to go to the National Gallery of Art during their trip here over the holidays. Actually, the debate was whether we should go to the National Gallery or the Museum of Natural History. I was selfish, I know, but I think they enjoyed the visit, as they wanted to go to both. After a quick trip to the espresso bar and an hour in the gift shop, I was off to the exhibit for which I made the visit…Henry Callahan at 100. I had no idea who Henry Callahan was but soon came to understand why he was referred to as “one of the most innovative and influential photographers of the 20th century.” His works ranged from rural landscapes to city streets to personal portraits, both in black and white and in color. I am normally a sucker for architectural photography, the more monochromatic the better, but I was captivated by Callahan’s portraits and the individuals in his street scenes.  The intimate pictures of his wife were stunning and the fleeting shots of random people in his street scenes were engaging in their haunting anonymity. After I had made it through the exhibit, it surprised me how much I enjoyed his work and my mind raced with questions, not about Henry Callahan but about myself. Where I was going creatively with all of these crazy artistic “hobbies”, what were my creative goals, and the question at the forefront of my mind…

Will anything I do ever be considered “influential?”

Who knows…I hope so.

~ Kim

Addendum: I got into trouble for this photograph at the museum. Don’t worry…I didn’t use a flash, but it’s a major no-no to take photographs in the special exhibits. I couldn’t help it. It reminded me of my grandmother.

 

Personal Photo of H. Callahan's 'Detroit, 1950'

 

The Hourglass of Death: Month #2…a little late

•October 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

My head feels like it’s going to explode. It feels like that a lot, actually. There’s just so much stuff going on in there…it’s either that or a migraine.

Cue: Scanners (now I know you remember that classic)

Click here to experience what Kim is feeling...

We’ve just wrapped up the second leg of the PUKER TOUR and I am exhausted. Just to recap, the PUKER TOUR kicked off when my short documentary PUKER screened at its first film festival back in April, the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, South Carolina, which was amazing. This past weekend was what I like to refer to as the second leg of the PUKER TOUR. PUKER was so fortunate to screen at two festivals in the past few days. On Thursday, October 13th we drove to Hagerstown, Maryland for the opening night of the inaugural Maryland International Film Festival.

Maryland International Film Festival

After an evening spent meeting some fabulous filmmakers and actors, VIP-style, we drove the next morning to the charming town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio where PUKER screened in front of an enthusiastic audience of about 50 people on Friday night at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. What a great experience! I hope to go back someday.

Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

The PUKER BUS (my 4-Runner) left Chagrin early the next morning for Hagerstown where PUKER screened Saturday afternoon. (Thanks again to all of my good friends who attended the screening in Hagerstown. What would I have done without you?? …had a Q and A with 4 strangers, that’s what.) The PUKER TOUR wrapped up Sunday after the conclusion of the festivals, and WHAM its back to the real world.

So, I’m two weeks late on this blog, I know. It’s not really supposed to be a PUKER TOUR update or images of exploding heads…it’s supposed to be an update on my progress/status on the screenplay. THE HOURGLASS OF DEATH Month #2. Well, because of the PUKER TOUR (excuse) and because of preparations for the PUKER TOUR (excuse) and because of my homework for my biothreat class (excuse) and because of work craziness (excuse), I am late. But better late than never…here is the current status on my script:

Outline: done

Page count: 20 (goal = 90 to 110 pages)

I know I know…back to work.

Later!

~ Kim

P.S. I almost forgot the best excuse of all…time spent with our new addition to the family…

Pretty cute excuse, huh?

The Hourglass of Death: Month #1 Addendum

•September 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have one more thing to add to the first and latest update…and its not something I’m proudest of.  I have come to realize writers not only are addicted to writing, but they are addicted to caffeine.  For almost 5 years I have led a caffeine-free existence and I was doing ok.  I actually felt I had more energy in the beginning when I was newly “off the sauce”, but to be “on point” and rarin’ to go after an 8+ or so hour day of work when a lot of my writing and building of story and brainstorming needs to take place…that’s asking a lot of my little morning cup of decaf Nespresso.  Plus, sugar rushes can only get you so far, and now that I am going low-carb, I am sad to admit I fell off the (caffeine) wagon.

And I think I am addicted to Exedrine. (Ok I know that its not possible to have a physical addiction to Exedrine per se, just the caffeine in it, but because I am a pharmacist, I’m not too worried about it.)

All in the name of art!  And how do you think I am rattling off this blog at 6:20 a.m.???

Catch ya later!

~Kim

Kim Caffeinated (photo by BrownDogFoto)