That’s a WRAP on 2018

I’ve always thought another year goes by, OK! Let’s do it. But after seeing so many 2018 posts I started reflecting on my year too and I realized… Wow. This year has been absolutely crazy. I made the decision to drop my sorority so that I could make room for a passion of mine and ‘Oh My God.’ Did I fill that space in my schedule! I started out as marketing and multimedia director for University of Oregon Dance Marathon and worked at increasing our visibility and getting people to sign up for the event and help fundraise money for our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. I took pictures, wrote funny and engaging social media posts, created and designed an entire website… but what I really loved doing was making video content, especially my Happy Halloween! promotional video.

OVERALL WE RAISED $51,392.70 for CMN! That’s insane. All of that money goes to providing medical supplies, technology, education and so much more to improve the lives of these Miracle Kids.

I was also the CMN foundation’s marketing intern and helped out with even MORE fundraising events. Including the 2018 INFINITI Coaches’ Charity Challenge with Coach Altman from the University of Oregon men’s basketball team. I got to work with the UO men’s basketball team and the hospital’s Miracle Kids to take photos on the court. The CMN Foundation behind PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend did so much for these Miracle Kids and their families. It was inspirational to be a part of what really felt like a movement and to be creative — doing things I loved — to help people and make a difference in a child’s life.

For me, I met and connected with the kids and also the people that would give so much of themselves to help others and that kind of passion, drive and unselfishness, will stay with me for a lifetime.

It was this past commitment to CMN and my reignited passion for video that got the ball rolling. I got a position as a production assistant (i.e. gaffer) for a show series MIRA directed by Jannik Ehret. It was the best possible experience I could have ever hoped for— working on a show production for the first time! …AND I was given the chance to DP a couple of episodes which was amazing.

I had never worked with such a heavy duty camera before and I was nervous because I was so new to Duck TV and everyone was an experienced film student. I was just a journalism major, but I started to feel comfortable behind the camera, thanks to all those helpful experienced film students! Also, fun story, James Ivory (Oscar Winner, Call Me By Your Name) was walking around the University of Oregon campus where we were filming (he’s an alumnus) but NO ONE KNEW WHO HE WAS IN THAT MOMENT… He was in the background of some of our shots and our director had to ask him politely to move out of the frame. ‘Oh my gosh.’ Ivory also came over and asked what kind of camera we were using, chit-chatting, he was so kind.

It wasn’t until we all went home someone had a hunch and discovered it was in fact JAMES IVORY.

Along with the show, I started attending UO Women and Film Club!

The club was just starting out and there was a room FULL of talented women and non-binary friends. But I didn’t know ANYONE. (This was a little bit before MIRA started shooting). I met Hannah Neill and she was so friendly and it turned out we were working on the same show together for Duck TV (Yay!) Women and Film opened up so many doors for me; opportunities, connections and valuable advice.

I received my first mentor, Danielle LeBlanc, who was the president/founder of the club and executive producer of Duck TV. I was beyond stoked! I first met her when I was fumbling with the lights on set of MIRA (it was my first shoot EVER) and the light kit course I took previously at the journalism school didn’t show me how to use the ARRI light kit… only the Lowel kit… BIG DIFFERENCE. She was so nice and helped me out, quickest lesson of my life. I knew I wanted her as my mentor. Without her, I don’t think I would have dived as deep into film as I am now. She introduced me to so many people and really helped guide me. She gave me the confidence to apply to be a DP for another short film, ANDY ANDY ANDY, directed by Garod Drumm.

Which was great but I kinda fudged up on the first day of filming. It still haunts me. But that’s the best way to learn… I now know the Canon C100 inside and out. Ha-ha.

I also got the opportunity to produce and DP a show with someone I had never met before, Khalil Afariogun. The show was STANDARDS. A show series about a sorority girl.

Posted by Duck TV on Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sound familiar? I promise it wasn’t about anyone or anything having to do with my past sorority affiliation. But I loved it when I found out everyone from my sorority was tuning in to watch the show’s premiere! We got multiple Force Awards for that show and it was awarded “Best Quality Show” of the term. It was my first major project ever… I learned soooo much!

When nominations and elections rolled around during the end of spring term for UO Women and Film Club. I gave a speech to the entire club, asking to be their vice president. I spent a lot of time writing it and spoke from my heart, and today I couldn’t be more grateful to call myself Women and Film Vice President.

Over the summer I wanted to make a short film and enter it into a film competition. I reached out and luckily found some awesome people in LA (some UO alumnae) and they reached out too and all together we got a killer cast and crew to make LAPSE.

Which was written, produced, shot AND edited in under 72 hours. (That was the point of the competition: Make a film in under 72 hours). Our final product premiered at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live 14 and that moment was surreal. I had to go on stage after and answer a Q&A in front of a bunch of talented filmmakers and it was nerve-racking, but I felt so much more at ease when I could gloat about my team, about how hardworking and passionate they are!

Over the summer I had friends come visit me and I showed them around LA; for example, Katy, we were going to produce a show together in the fall! I also had friends trying to get their start in the film industry and I let them crash in my guest room and we scoured everywhere for apartments and jobs. I think it’s important to always help others because you never know, that could be you one day.

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My co-producer Katy Larson and I at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
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My friend Tanner Staab and I on the Santa Monica Pier.

I also went to Japan and Bali over the summer with my mother and we had SO. MUCH. FUN. We’ve been to Thailand and Indonesia many times before for business, but this trip was just something else. We met so many fascinating people and checked out the coolest places. Since then I’ve been bit by the travel bug again and want to check out more countries!

Back at University of Oregon I applied for a position with Allen Hall Media. Which was a brand new multimedia agency at the Journalism School and I thought, how awesome! I was accepted and started helping them produce content. I was put on the UO Common Reading Project, to make a video promoting next year’s common reading book for incoming freshman. Again, I got to work with and meet more creative people, but this time I got to take a back seat as well. I didn’t want to apply for a producer’s position since I was taking on another project (I’ll get into that next) so I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t the one calling the shots, which is good for someone who is used to leading; to remember what it’s like being on the other end. Of course, you can’t expect me NOT to help in any way I can… That’s just being a team player. At the end of the term my producer gave me the On-Set Superhero Award, which was totally unexpected and so incredibly thoughtful. (Thank you!)

Finally, my biggest and most recent project of 2018… was the show series, PotterGirl, I was DP and co-produced with Katy Larson.

This was really a cool series, it was inspired by Harry Potter fan-fiction. The concept was conceptualized by Katy herself and it really went over the top from there! I had so much fun helping direct some episodes and writing the finale. We won awards for Best Show and I know our cast and crew really enjoyed putting their time and effort into the series. My little dog, Toasty, got to star in an episode because we had to do some last minute writing (she wouldn’t stop barking in this one scene and we were filming at my house!) I just told one of our actors to hold Toasty when he came running into the scene. But let me tell you… IT MADE THE SHOW SO MUCH BETTER IN THE LONG RUN. There were many times where I felt I was a crazy person trying to describe how a shot would look… For example, (SPOILER) the Toasty POV shot and her transformation into our villain’s evil human sidekick. After I showed them the shot everyone was on-board!

I also got to practice composing music, which I never thought I could do. But I learned how! (Kind of). With the help of our editor, Takur Conlu. He spiced it up and made the “PotterGirl’s Theme” whimsical.

I also got to spend more time thanking our cast and crew, which was HUGE for me. I designed and printed some personalized awards for everyone (inspired by the personalized awards Jannik made for me and everyone working on MIRA). Katy and I wrote out personalized messages on the back of each one, thanking everyone for all of their dedication, skill, passion and hard work. I can compliment and point out all the specific raw talent in every individual member of our team and go on all day… I am so grateful for them all, we really made something magical.

All in all, this was actually a year of a LOT of growth and I know every decision (good and bad) has led me in the right direction. I hope, too early to tell. My confidence has improved ten-fold because I feel like I’ve finally found my community. It sucks that a lot of people are graduating this June 2019, me included, but I know we’ll work on more projects together in the future! I have awesome friends that share this same passion for creativity and share the same drive that I have.

I’ve been fortunate enough to experience — over the course of my life — so many different countries, cultures, people, practices, traditions, MISTAKES, ways of thinking, ways of action and ways to love. I am grateful for every wonderful, terrible, uncomfortable and embarrassing event that has ever happened to me, because without all of this experience I would be very, very BORING.

And without all of you I couldn’t do anything worthwhile.

Thank you 2018 for showing me so much. Can’t wait for 2019!