Friday, November 25, 2011

Being Thankful

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd list all of the things that I'm thankful for this holiday. I'm thankful that I have a loving, supportive husband who takes days off work so I can film, who does the nightly routine so I can get a little more work in, who happily takes care of the kids while I'm out at networking events/film seminars/random things that come up, who, on my darkest days tells me I have to keep going. I'm thankful for my family, who whenever I have a shoot or an event or a fund-raiser are the first to help out, kick in and contribute. I'm thankful for my friends who understand that I still love them even when I'm in the midst of production and haven't had time to speak with them, who show up to all my screenings and events in spades and who are there to cheer me on in good times and shore me up in bad. I'm thankful for my children, who even as they complain that they don't see me enough (despite my being their primary care-giver), brag about me to their friends and beg me to help them make their own films and watch as I work on mine. I'm thankful for those of you reading this (and commenting), which makes me feel like I'm not alone in my insanity!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Top 10 Tips for Losing Weight

As almost anyone who's met me can probably tell you, I've been trying to lose that extra 20-30 pounds of baby weight ever since I had my twins almost 10 years ago. I've been up as much as 30 pounds and down to 6 pounds over. (I swear! There was a period of about 2 days where my former weight was within spitting distance.) However, I believe I have finally found a successful program and I'm writing it down in hopes that it can help you, too. WARNING: this diet is not for everyone. I would not recommend consulting your doctor, however, as he/she is sure to be against it.

1) Stop eating real food. Eat pre-packaged diet food, preferably on the run, with the occasional bag of Fritos or small sorbet thrown in for good measure. Try to eat a vegetable or two, or just eat whatever your kids leave over on their plates, as I'm sure you're feeding them healthy meals. If you don't have kids, see #2 below.

2) Be in possession of 2 9-year-old children who are just starting middle school, where they will be expected to change classes, organize books for about 8 different classes, keep a schedule of all homework due, and have 3-4 hours of homework per night. The running back and forth to school to get forgotten books, back & forth between kitchen and dining room to help with said homework, and the sheer stress of trying to remember what expanded number form is will burn myriads of calories. If you don't have children of your own, borrow some. I'm sure any parent will be happy to lend them for an extended period of time. One will do, but two is better.

3) Be in the final stages of post-production on a film and submit your film to a festival before it's completely finished. If you are on vacation when you do this, all the better. The extra texting and phone calls required will give your calorie burn an extra push. If you are not a filmmaker, then make sure to find a huge project that starts right as school is beginning and is due in mid to late October. If you don't have a job, volunteer work will do just as well. (E.g. Volunteer to run your school's Halloween Party, be very ambitious, and don't take too many volunteers to help you. If you don't have kids, see #2 above.)

4) Make sure said festival does not send out notifications until just a week or two before the festival starts to promote maximum anxiety. Anxiety (which can induce pacing, a real boon if you don't have time to exercise) and obsessively checking indieWire, Facebook, Twitter and the festival's website all contribute to calorie burn. Make sure you have a smartPhone so that this checking can go throughout the day and during soccer/ballet/music lesson, etc.

5) Initiate post-production with cash-flow difficulties. Begin the process after you have written a grant to cover the expenses (for which you've been led to believe you have a chance), but before the grant awards are announced. More chances to check all forms of social media for an answer with the added bonus of trying to scroll through an hours-long saved-webcast of public meetings for which said grant awards may or may not be announced. For calories burned, see #4. (Note to all my post-production people: you will be paid. I'm obsessive about paying my bills. If I don't have the money, I will scrimp on food. See #1 above.)

6) Get sick. Make sure your children are sick as well. This shouldn't be too difficult, as schools are teaming with infection and wild changes in weather should help. If possible, make sure that your spouse or partner gets sick as well. This will ensure that you will be too tired from taking care of everyone to eat, save for the middle-of-the-night raids on the pistachio jar, which doesn't count, in my opinion.

7) Drink lots of tea. With milk or (preferably) half-and-half. I know, half-and-half has fat, but it will keep you sustained as you forego food. (See #1.) And make sure to add your choice of milk to every tea, even lovely, smoky, Japanese tea. Bonus points for adding the milk in secret to avoid offending tea purists the world over.

8) When most stressful period has passed, continue to create new obstacles which will keep you at this heightened state of stress. One suggestion, make sure you partner with someone of a different faith so that you have double the amount of holidays to celebrate, double the meals to cook (but not eat!) and double the amount of clean-up afterward. If you can convince your partner to sit on the couch and do nothing while this is happening, all the better. (I can't. Mine insists on doing most of the work for these gatherings.) If you have an annoyingly helpful partner, stressing about getting all of the children's clutter out of the common areas and cleaning it should give you sufficient caloric burn.

9) Ensure that the birthdays in your household all fall within a 45-day window. If they don't, I suggest moving them. Throw incredibly creative (and separate) parties for the children which require hunting through stores for just the right thing for goody bags as well as materials for craft activities. The messier the better, as it will involve much more clean-up. You lose points for giving candy, especially so close to Halloween. Plus, all the extra candy around the house is just too tempting. Especially those mini Three Muskateers.

10) Whenever there are occasions where your children receive candy (and there are lots of them right about now), feed them as much of it as you can in the fastest possible time. If they won't eat enough of it to keep out of your reach, hide it. If that fails, when they've gotten tired of candy or forgotten they have it because it's been hidden for so long, send it to work with your partner. His/her co-workers will love you for it.

That's it! Your weight may fluctuate due to the occasional binge, but if you can keep to this schedule, the weight is sure to come off!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Love my Kids

I started this blog as a place to vent my frustration over the constant struggle between being a mother and being a filmmaker and never feeling like I do either very well. Sometimes I feel like there's a constant complaint running in my through my head - if only I had time I could make more films; if only I didn't have kids I'd have more time for me. But what I sometimes forget is to reflect on how much richer my life is with kids and how much I actually like my own. Not when they're complaining about homework, or recounting for the umpteenth time that embarrassing story of a temper tantrum I had when they were three, or when they're telling me how they wish Dad was their full-time caregiver because he never yells. It's the other times. Like when my daughter decided she didn't like the play her class was performing about the French Revolution, so she wrote her own, got all of her friends to take parts, rehearse every day at recess and then they performed it for the rest of the class. Or when she sees I'm particularly stressed and gives me a hug and a kiss, saying "I just decided to do that randomly." Or when my son stopped talking about his day in school to ask how the work on my film was going and confirmed that my new editor was working out well. They look up to me (they are only 9 after all) and I don't want to let them down. They inspire me to keep going and to be the best I can be. And they love me even when I'm not. It's that and much more that makes it all worthwhile. Until the next meltdown, anyway.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confessions of a Juggler

I loved this article by Tina Fey in the New Yorker. Of course, if you don't subscribe to the New Yorker, you'll just get the abstract, but it's enough to get the feel of the article. (And for just how wickedly funny she is.) I subscribe to the New Yorker, but as a constant juggler (and constant "hurrier"), I left mine on a bus. (This problem, at least, will presumably go away once I get my Nook Color. Although I suspect I'll forget to charge it and will be left with a 1 pound brick in my bag.) Luckily, Melissa Silverstein pointed out the article in her blog, Women & Hollywood. And because I am a subscriber (missing magazine notwithstanding), I was able to create an account and read the digital form for free.

It's refreshing to see someone in Hollywood talk about the realities of combining career and motherhood. It does have an impact. I remember the conversations about motherhood going around when I was in my 20's - when to have kids - better to have them while you're young at the beginning of your career? Or wait until you're well established and have more power to call the shots? None of it is easy. I came to filmmaking late (meaning I didn't start in utero, like a lot of indie filmmakers these days.) I waited years to make my first short. Then I had kids. It kind of put a damper on my ability to work production jobs, where a 12-hour-day is considered short. And working production is how you meet people that you want to work with. Still, I would do it again. I have a lot of friends in the indie world who are single, unattached and live for filming. I chose to have a family. It makes doing anything harder and everything takes longer, but it makes everything worth doing in the first place.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I'm stealing my resolution this year from Ela Thier, another first-time female filmmaker whom I admire. I can't wait to see her film, "Foreign Letters."

"My New Year's resolution is to be exactly who I've been and do exactly what I've been doing."

Well, okay, there is one thing I'll resolve to try: to lose the moniker that my kids have given me - "Mount Cranky."

And to finish my film, "In Montauk."

So that's two things. But of course, these are things I've been doing all along. So do they count?