Tag Archives: film festival

Another Screening (or Enjoying A Film Festival)

I just had the film festival that I run, and the film that I did last year was part of the comedy programing. It was cool to have us in the festival and to get to share our film with more people. It wasn’t the first time we screened publicly, but it was our first film festival. And while it did feel a bit odd to have the film in a festival I run (I have nothing to do with programming so it’s fine), I was still so proud to have a film festival laurel on our movie poster.

We have been busy submitting our film to multiple festivals, but many of them won’t let us know if we got in or not for a while. But we did hear back from another festival besides the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival and we found out that we got in! We got into the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and we screened there this week!

This screening was held at Regal Cinemas at LA Live, so it was going to be another screening on a big screen. And we were going to be in a block with other short films, so I was happy to see what other films were in our programming block and to support other filmmakers.

There was a pretty decent turnout for the screening. We were worried because it was on a weekday afternoon, but the theater was over half full and everyone was so excited to see the films. We were toward the end of the program, so I tried to relax and enjoy the other films that were screening.

I’m not sure if we were a block of short films or comedy short films, but it was an interesting mix of films. Some of them were a bit more out there than our film is (ours is pretty down to earth and realistic), but there were things that I really enjoyed with each of the films that were in the hour long program with us. When our film played, I couldn’t focus too much since I still don’t love to watch myself act. But I was very happy that we got a lot of laughs and some of those were in spots that we hadn’t gotten laughs in before.

Once the program was done, we headed out of the theater quickly since the next screening was going to start right after ours ended. There wasn’t a Q&A or anything, but most of the filmmakers were gathering right outside the theater. There was a step and repeat set up so of course I had to get photos with my writer/co-star and my director!

When we were taking our photos, we had some people coming up to us to tell us that they enjoyed our film. That was really nice and I wasn’t expecting it. I am really proud of our film and would be happy even if it was just for us and nobody else got to see it. But to know that other people are enjoying the film is amazing and really made my day!

I wish that I could have stayed at the festival longer and seen more films, but my schedule did not allow for that. I know there were so many short films to see and I really wanted to support my fellow filmmakers. I know it isn’t easy to get people to see short films and I wanted to see as many movies as I could. Hopefully if we get into another festival I can attend more programs and see all the films. It just wasn’t mean to be this time.

I still can’t believe that the film that we made is getting recognition. It started out as such a small project and it has continued to grow and grow. I am so proud of the work that we all did and I’m really hopeful that we can continue to get into film festivals so more people can see it. We are already discussing working on another film together because we had so much fun with “Single Parent Date Night”. But until we do, I’m just going to enjoy having a great film out there and being able to look back at the hard work that we did.

Film Festival Day (or Being In Charge)

This past weekend was the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival. In the past, we’ve had the festival happen over multiple days, but this time we only had it on one day. This ended up being a good thing for me because this year’s festival was quite the stressful thing. I love working this festival and at least the love and happiness I have overrides the stress I get. But that doesn’t mean that the stress doesn’t affect me sometimes.

As I mentioned before, we had a last minute venue change with the festival. It was an unfortunate situation where our previous contact was no longer with the venue, but they never told us that in their email correspondence. So even though we had emails from them saying that we were all confirmed for the date, there was no record of us since they didn’t work for the venue and had no authority to book events. I’m glad that the venue felt bad for what happened to us and was able to put us in a new venue, but it was still stressful knowing that it was a venue that I hadn’t held a festival in before and wasn’t sure how it would all work.

I had gone to the new venue to see the setup and try to plan out how I wanted things to happen, but still the day of I was stressed more than I would have liked. I wanted to be able to relax and enjoy the festival, but I knew that until I knew that everyone had a good time that I would be worried about things. But the staff at the new venue was amazing and really did everything they could to make sure that the festival ran as smoothly as possible. Things weren’t perfect, but without the awesome staff and management I knew the festival wouldn’t have happened at all. I’ve thanked them so many times already, but I can’t thank them enough. I wasn’t the easiest person to deal with when I’m that stressed out and there were lots of little things that I wanted to make sure were right. But they understood my need to try to make things perfect and really worked with me.

It’s still weird to me to be in charge of everything. When I started with the festival, I was a volunteer. I worked my way up the ranks over the years (I’ve been with the festival for 9 of the 10 years it’s happened) but I still feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. I need to build confidence with being in charge, but for now I have to fake it until I make it.

Since we had a reduced timeframe for the festival (which was because the other venue was supposedly only available for that limited time), we only had 2 screening programs: comedy and drama. And this year, one of my films was submitted and accepted into the festival! I know it sounds like I had something to do with it, but I do not program the films and the programmers don’t all know who I am. So it was exciting to have “Single Parent Date Night” make its festival debut at the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival!

The only downside to having the film in the festival was the way that the venue was set up, our lobby/reception area had about 8 TVs which all were playing what was playing in the screening room. So when our film started, I was surrounded by me. Not the best thing for someone who doesn’t love to watch themselves on the screen, but it was pretty funny to not be able to escape from it.

This wasn’t the most successful year, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a great festival. Everyone who was there seemed to have a great time and many filmmakers came up to me after the screenings to say how much fun they had. I’m glad that everyone had a good time since that’s all I really wanted to get out of the festival.

I know that we are going to take a bit of a break before the next festival. My co-director and I really want to bring it back to the glory days it had in the beginning. We want to be back in a great venue and have the filmmakers be excited to be screening there. We know we have a great event, we just have to make sure that others know it as well.

Getting Out Of A Funk (or A Phone Call Can Change My Mood)

I’ll admit that I’ve been in a bit of a bad mood the past few days. It’s never fun being in a bad mood, but it’s been tough to escape.

First of all, I’ve been dealing with some health issues. I’ve had gallbladder issues for a while. I have a family history of gallstones and people getting their gallbladder out. I’ve had gallstones for a while and have been told that I should get my gallbladder out eventually, but I haven’t done it yet. My attacks haven’t been frequent enough to significantly bother me and I really don’t want to undergo a surgery. I used to have attacks once a month or so, but I haven’t had an attack in a while.

Then I had one. And while it was awful, I just figured that it happened and I would get another one soon. Then I got another. And another. I’ve had 3 gallbladder attacks this month. I know I should probably go to the doctor to check things out, but these attacks are not as bad as some in the past. All of them have lasted under 10 minutes (compared to hours with them in the past), so I’m hoping that maybe it was just bad luck that I got them back to back.

I’ve also had a bit of a depression regarding paying my taxes this year. 2015 was the first year that all of my income was 1099. I knew that I had to save for my taxes and I did save about 30% of what I made. I also kept track of all of my receipts and mileage and I think I did some amazing record keeping. I’m seeing a new tax preparer this year who specialized in entertainment industry taxes at the end of February and I’m hoping that I have saved enough money to pay everything I owe. Once I know that, my stress level will go down significantly. But until that appointment, it will be a bit of a dark cloud over my head.

And finally, I’m just stressed about work and scheduling. I’ve got a lot coming up and so many of my weekends are jam-packed already. I know that I can get through it, but I have to get through it.

But yesterday, I got some good news about the film festival I work for. I can’t share anything yet, but there may be some very exciting things with the festival coming up soon. Even though nothing is definite (and it won’t necessarily happen any time soon), knowing that it’s a possibility really improved my mood and gave me a nice positive boost in my life. I need to be reminded why I’m working my butt off so hard sometimes. It can be frustrating when all it seems I do are day jobs and I don’t do anything toward my career. And while the film festival isn’t necessarily the career path I’m on, it’s something I love and something that makes me happy. If I spend the rest of my life running the film festival and then auditioning when I can, I would be ecstatic. The festival doesn’t feel like a job to me. Hopefully, in the future the film festival will be my day job but that will take a lot of work and a lot of other factors that I don’t control. But it can be nice to dream.

I’m glad that while my week wasn’t so great, I’m ending it on a good note and am going into the weekend feeling much better about my situation than I have in a while. It’s a good reminder that when you feel like things aren’t going your way, one little thing is all it takes to change that around.

Another Festival Done! (or My Weekend With The Beverly Hills Shorts Festival)

This past weekend was the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival. It was my second year as co-director of the festival. It’s still a little scary to me that I’m in charge of running a film festival, but I know that I can do it.

Our festival was going to be held at the same location as last year. That made me happy because I know the venue well and at the last festival we didn’t really have any technical issues.

On Friday, we had our opening night party. That is a good way to ease into the festival. It’s a fun party and everyone seems to have a good and relaxing time. I tried to figure out what to wear as a film festival director, and I think I came up with a good outfit.

Opening Night Party Outfit

My job at the party is really to be the hostess for the event. I tried to have fun while I had some amazing volunteers who helped to put together programs and check in our filmmakers. And as I went around the room, it seemed like everyone was having a great time.

Opening Night Party

The next day was the first day of screenings. When I got to the venue, I had to take a picture of their sign promoting our festival.

Busbys Sign

We screening in the ballroom again. The employees there were able to set up the chairs, couches, and bar stools in a way that it was almost like stadium seating.

Empty Theater

On the first day of screenings, it went pretty smoothly. We had some issues with sound because of the noise in the other areas of the venue, but nothing too horrible.

Sunday was our second day of screenings we had our biggest glitch. One of the movies playing was sticking and freezing. While inside I was freaking out, I had to remain calm and handle the situation. I had the employees pause the DVD and I walked in front of the audience to apologize for the technical issues. Then I let them know that we had a backup DVD for that particular film (many of our films didn’t send us a backup so I’m glad this one did) and that we could start the movie over from the backup or to just go back to where we paused it.

Once we got the backup DVD in, things seemed to work better. While I probably looked fine on the outside, I was holding in tears inside. I just want the festival to run smoothly and have all the filmmakers happy. But when I talked to some of the audience later, they all said that they appreciated me coming out to speak about the technical issues and that it was fine. The filmmakers for that particular film didn’t attend, so that probably made things a little easier for me.

We have 7 screenings over the weekend (4 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday). And it pretty much all ran the way that I wanted it to. We also had our awards ceremony on Sunday. And while I don’t love speaking on a microphone in front of a crowd, I love giving out awards!

Before I knew it, the weekend was done and all the filmmakers were thanking me for putting on such a fun festival! I’m still coming down from the adrenaline rush of the festival (and lack of sleep over the weekend). But I had so much fun being co-director again!

I am hoping that the other co-directors can come out to the festival next year because it is way more fun being there with them. But now with 2 festivals under my belt, I feel pretty confident that I can do it again!

And now, I’m going to work on catching up on my sleep!

Post Festival

You Never Know Who You’ll Run Into (or Seeing A Familiar Face 6 Years Later)

I have one more story to share from the film festival. But this one requires a bit of back story.

In 2007, I worked on a Fox tv show called “Unhitched” for one episode. It was technically background work (meaning no lines), but I was going to be featured so you could see my face and I wasn’t just someone in a big crowd. The scene was at a party and a kid who can’t swim gets knocked into a pool by one of the main characters. A very attractive woman wearing a white dress jumps into the pool to save the kid. As she comes out of the pool, her dress is see-through so a lot of the men are looking at her. The man playing my husband in the show is taking a home movie of her walking out of the pool and I walk into the frame about to eat a piece of pizza. My husband asks if I really need to eat that, and I take a giant bite. Fun fact from that shoot: we had to do it so many times that I went through 3 large pizzas (I got to spit it out so I didn’t really eat it).

Anyway, it was a one day shoot, I had a lot of fun, and I made some decent money (they screwed up my call time so I ended up getting a lot of overtime that day).

A few months after shooting that, my parents started to get a couple of calls about a commercial about a tv show I was in. My parents asked me about it, and I figured it must be from “Unhitched”. I didn’t see the commercial for a while, but when I did, it was during a commercial break from “American Idol” (so I know a bunch of people saw it). I had it saved on my DVR so I could remember that moment.

A few months later, I was working the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival when this man approached me and asked me if I was on “Unhitched”. I explained that I did a background role on one episode but yes, I was in that commercial. Well, turns out the man who came up to me was the man who cut the commercials for the show! He was the one responsible for putting me in that commercial! I thanked him so much for the exposure he gave to me, and he promised to send me a DVD of the commercial so I could keep it (here’s the link for it on YouTube).

I’ve always been so grateful to this guy for putting me into the commercial for the show (and sending me a copy of it).

Flash forward to this past weekend. When I was putting together all the materials for the film festival, there was one name that stuck out to me. I couldn’t remember how I knew it, but I figured that I would find out when I saw the person. Turns out, it was the same guy from 6 years ago who cut me into the commercial! He couldn’t believe that we ran into each other again (and it had been years since he worked for Fox making those commercials). He watched the commercial again on YouTube and showed it off to all of his friends. And we kept laughing how cool it was to run into each other again.

This all proves to me again how small the entertainment industry is. And how important it is to be nice to everyone you meet. This guy, who used to make commercials, is now in a position to hire me for a project (and of course I gave him my business card so he wouldn’t forget me). I also was so glad to run into him so I could express my gratitude to him again for putting me in that commercial and giving me that type of exposure. It is so rare to get so much attention from a background role.

Running into people you’ve worked with or met years ago is one of the reasons I love this industry. When you really get into it, everyone knows everyone and you don’t feel so alone.

Beverly Hills Shorts Festival (or Remembering To Breathe After Being So Stressed)

Saturday was the actual screenings for the film festival. In the past, we’ve had screenings the entire weekend, but since this was my first time running the festival, the other co-directors agreed that we should cut it back to one day (I’m very grateful that they made that decision).

The screenings were at 3, 5, and 7 with an awards ceremony at 9. But I wanted to get to Busby’s super early so I could make sure that everything was in order. When I arrived, the ballroom was all set up for the screenings.


It was only bright in there because the curtains were still open. While the screenings were going on it was nice and dark.

I also tested the DVDs we were using. The biggest fear that I had was that there would be some sort of technical issue during a screenings. It’s happened before and I’m sure it’s happened again. But I’ve never been the person who had to fix it (or who had to listen to an angry filmmaker yelling).

I tried to stay calm while waiting for the volunteers to show up for the first shift. I killed time by making phone calls and playing a couple of rounds of Candy Crush.

And before I knew it, the festival was starting. Since I couldn’t be in 2 places at once, I stayed outside at the check in table while the films were going. But I always had a volunteer inside in charge of making sure there were no technical issues. I also had a volunteer run the Q&A after the screening.

While I didn’t get to see any of the films during the festival, I’ve been told by the volunteers and filmmakers that there were no technical issues during the entire thing. I had no angry filmmakers and nobody demanded a refund of their ticket (yes, that’s happened in the past as well).

I got to host the awards ceremony for the first time (I’m normally just hanging out watching it). It was so much fun getting to pass out awards (not all the winners were present, but those who were were so enthusiastic that they won).

And then it was done.

I’m still in shock that I managed to do it. I’ve been nervous for so long about this and honestly, I think it went smoother this year than any other year (that could be due to the fact that we ran all the screenings off of DVDs and only had one day of screenings). There are a couple of things that I’m hoping to improve on for next year, but I’ll have an entire year to prep for that festival.

I also wanted to just say on here how grateful I am to all my volunteers this year. I know that the festival would have been a disaster without them. Not only were they rockstars in doing their jobs, they also helped to calm me down.

Now I get to relax at Thanksgiving with most of my family.

BTW, if you are a filmmaker and want to submit your film for next year, let me know!

Opening Night Party (or Getting To Be A Party Hostess)

Friday evening was the opening night for the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival. The party didn’t officially start until 8pm, so I worked my usual half shift that morning and made a last minute run to Staples for some supplies (I seemed to need a lot of office supplies this past weekend).

I got to Busby’s East (where the party and the screenings were held) super early so I could set up and make sure everything was in its place before any of the filmmakers got there. I was also crazy nervous because not only was this the first year I got to help run the festival, I was doing it without the other 2 co-directors who are usually there every year (they leave in New Orleans and couldn’t make the drive this year).

My awesome volunteers showed up 7:30 and they got to work on some of the last minute tasks that needed to be done for the festival (getting filmmakers checked in, cutting tickets, and collecting materials from the filmmakers).

I was feeling a bit panicky before the party started, but by 8:30, we had a nice crowd there and everyone was having a great time. In the past, I always worked the checkin table, but this year, since I was in charge, I had to make sure to walk around the entire time introducing myself to the filmmakers and their guests. All the filmmakers were so incredibly kind to me and they all seemed so excited to be screening their films (and to be screening in a room that had a private bar).

Everything really did run smoothly through the entire evening. The only minor issue we had was with other bar patrons trying to come into our room that was reserved for our group. There was a sign at the entryway of the room saying it was closed for a private party, but people kept coming in and asking if we really needed the room (I wanted the room to stay just for us so the filmmakers knew that all the people in the room were fellow filmmakers). I just kept asking those crashers to please wait until 10:30 when we no longer had the room reserved.

Before I knew it, it was 10pm and time for us to clean up. We had everything ready to go back into my car in a matter of minutes, so the volunteers and I decided to take advantage of the photo booth in the room we were using.


It was only $4 for the photos and it printed out 2 and gave us the option to email it as well (I emailed it to myself and then forwarded it on to the volunteers).

I was so relieved that the evening went well and everyone had fun. I was still very stressed out about the screenings the next day, but I knew that this event had gone as well as I could have hoped!

Catch Up Time (or A Blog With Lots Of Random News)

Time for a little bit of catching up on life.

First of all, a little bit of news about my dog, Dante. My parents took him to the dog oncologist yesterday. It wasn’t necessarily bad news, but it wasn’t good news either. Basically, right now we are waiting for his leg to heal from his surgery before we do anything else. He’s also getting a new pain medicine to hopefully help him sleep more at night (right now he’s been waking up a lot at night and waking up my parents too). And to help him eat a bit more, he’s also getting a steroid.

I’m starting to feel a bit more normal in my routine after my crazy weekend, but I know that with next week being Thanksgiving and having several days off of work, my brain will be more confused about what day it is next week. But I’m trying to get back into everything that seems to be normal to me. Somehow, I’ve been forgetting to check my daily affirmations in the morning, so I’ve started doing that again. And I do feel a difference in my attitude and how I feel when I do them.

And this weekend is the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, the film festival that I am running! Tonight is the opening night party and tomorrow will be all the screenings. If you are in the LA area and want to come to the festival, we are selling tickets at the door. I’d love to have some blog readers there to see the amazing films that we have chosen for the festival this year! While I’m a bit nervous about running the festival alone for the first time, I’m still super excited about my new title. And when I got a box of supplies from one of the other co-directors, I couldn’t help but be super excited when I saw my badge.


I promise to recap my experience running the film festival next week! Hopefully everything goes smoothly!

That’s my recap of life for now. I hope that you all had a great week before Thanksgiving week! And hopefully I’ll see a couple of you at the film festival this weekend!

Busy Work (or It’s All Coming Together)

Once things start to get busy it all gets busy! Isn’t that the way it always is? When you have nothing to do, there is nothing to can go to do. And when you are scheduled like crazy, you have to add more things to your day.

Work is work. I had some good sales yesterday which made me happy. And I’ve got full shifts for the rest of the week before the weeks of not being able to work everyday start.

I’m also doing some work for here. I’m hoping to make my blog better than ever. It takes time, but I have some things in motion that I hope will come through in the near future.

And the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival is coming together! I had a call with the other two co-directors the other night and we’ve started to plan out how things will work this year. I’m surprisingly not nervous about running the festival for the first time. I’ve been a part of it for so long that I’m excited to add on some responsibilities (although I’m very sad that I won’t be seeing the other co-directors this year). I’ve been making lists of things I need to do and I’ve started to contact past volunteers to see who would like to be part of the festival this year.

By the way, if you are local to LA and want to volunteer for the film festival, leave a comment and let me know! I know I’ll need volunteers and I’d love to have some blog readers there!

Finally, I’ve been sitting down and figuring out my next job move. Obviously right now I can’t leave my job. I still have debt to pay off, but I’m making a list of what I want in my next job. I can look while I’m employed and not have the pressure to have to take a job that isn’t right for me. But unless I list out what I want, I’ll never know if a job has everything I need.

I’m loving being busy with things that I enjoy. This is all I want in life. Even though I’m still at my day job, at least I have a lot of time filled up with fun things. And you never know when those fun things can result in a new day job!

Exciting News (or Sometimes It Pays To Wait It Out)

I’ve got some exciting news to share with all of you! I’ve wanted to share it for about a week, but I had to wait for it to be official.

I’m the new festival co-director for the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival!

You all might be wondering what I’m talking about since I haven’t mentioned this festival before. Here’s a little back story.

About 7 years ago, I heard through The Actors’ Network that there was a film festival that needed volunteers. I was unemployed then so I figured I should check it out and maybe I’d meet some cool people. I enjoyed volunteering so much that I returned for every screening for the festival! I got to know the directors Dan and Laura pretty well because of that.

The next year, they asked me if I’d like to volunteer again. And of course I said yes! After the second year, they asked me if I’d like to become a staff member of the festival and be the volunteer coordinator. And again I said yes. So for the past few years, I’ve worked as the volunteer coordinator.

The only reason I haven’t mentioned this festival on the blog yet is because last year, the festival was held before I started blogging (I almost don’t remember a time I didn’t blog!). This year, the festival was moved to November.

But I’ve been a part of this festival for 6 years (this year will be my 7th) and I’m so excited that my role with them is expanding into something amazing.

I never would have guessed all those years ago that volunteering on a whim would result in something so cool. And I didn’t go into this hoping that one day I’d be a co-director. It just naturally happened.

I’m so grateful that Dan and Laura think that I should be the co-director of the festival. It means so much that they can trust me. I’m excited for the festival this year and just a little nervous to be running the show for the first year. But I know that this is only going to lead to more and more good things in my life.

And just in case any filmmakers are reading this, I still don’t get a say in the programming of the festival. Submissions for this year are closed now, but if you want to submit for next year, you are all welcome to. Just know that sucking up to me isn’t going to help you any! But if any of you want to help out with the film festival this year, leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to get back to you when I’m putting together the volunteer list!