The Vague Interview

How do you know something is dead?

When there is no longer any breath.

Do you remember the beginning?

The beginning was the best part.

What was the worst?

The ending. It meant the story was over, nothing more to be told.

Your favorite part?

The memories. Life has a funny way of making life out of dead things.

What do you remember most?

The silences. More was told when nothing was being said.

If you had to put it all in a song what would it be?

There wasn’t many songs, but November says it well.

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Honesty..How do you do it?

I’ve been confronted with this questions for a while…

In my younger days, I was known for my honesty. By the time I was nineteen, I was a bit out of control. It kinda gave me a bad reputation. Strange to think about that time now cause that person who I once was no longer exists. I’ve learned that being honest isn’t always the best thing to do. It hurt people’s feelings and it made me a horrible person. I liked saying what was on my mind, but growing up I was starting to see the danger in it.

And so in my early twenties I began to control what I said. By my mid-twenties I controlled everything I said a little too well that I began to no longer be honest with myself. A friend that I met a few years ago told my last year, “Monica, you edit everything that you say that you lie to yourself.” Which was so true. I put the honest side of my personality away so much that it was causing me to become a different person.

Now I am discovering that I went too far with not being truthful when it comes to expressing my heart. I rather just smile and deal with what I have to deal with or just let it pass. This method has worked for the past few years, but just recently I’ve been haunted by my dreams.

I strongly believe that dreams speak to us. I’ve discover that in my dreams I can not lie to myself. The past year, every night I dream that I am in a bathrobe trying to find some privacy to take a shower.¬† Everyone from my work place seems to show up and interprets me. I try to get away from them as I am awkwardly nude under my bathrobe. Now my dream book says many things about this subject, but some lines that stand out to me are ” masking feelings of our real emotions with in everyday life” and “revealing one’s true nature.” I’ve often felt guilty for having dreams, therefore I don’t share them as often as I should. Or I don’t express how I really feel when it comes to relationships.

Honesty has made my life complicated in the past. After all, the first line in my short film was, “honesty made two lovers enemies.” I remember I was talking to my friend after knowing him for three-years about when we first met. He told me that I sent him a message once that freaked him out. I asked why and he told me why. I then said, “OOOhhh, I didn’t mean that at all, in fact I thought I was making things less awkward by being honest.” The truth was, I wasn’t being TOTALLY honest which lead to his misunderstanding. Well, I wish I could say that this type of misunderstanding has happened to me once but in fact not so.

So where is that line of honesty? I have no idea. But I know I have to exercise it, other wise I might just lose myself. A goal I have set for 2011 is to be honest to myself and others. So I’ve ruined some relationships in the past because of my lack of honesty, its okay. I guess they were destined to fail the moment I couldn’t be honest.

So I ask you, “Honesty, how do you do it?”

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My friend Nick Khoo

I must admit, I have never been the person to have lots of friends. I have this horrible habit of not putting effort in to friendships. Once in a while, I make a new friend that doesn’t feel like work. My friendship with Nick Khoo was the most unexpected gift Australia gave me.

Well, Nick is one of my soul mate friends. The ones I wish I could keep for life. We are indeed different but my goodness so a like. He would hate it when I would brag to other people how similar we were, after all he is an Asian guy and I am a Mexican girl. He was born in New Zealand and I was born in the hood. We have different cultural up bringing but some how we have some similar wiring. I remember once we ordered the same ice cream and had no idea until we both turned around, he then looked at me and said, “Don’t say it.” ūüôā

We probably aren’t that much alike anymore since we’ve had some new life experiences since 2005. But it seems as though we met each other at the perfect time back then.

Actually.. its a funny story. I was a college student at Hillsong and my class was leaving the church office buildings and Nick happen to walk by. My teacher said, “Oh this is Nick Khoo, he makes all those amazing videos.” I said with my innocent brown eyes looking up to him in excitement, “Wow, maybe you can teach me some of your tricks!” and to my shock but amazement he said, “I don’t think so” and walked away. haha…

Yes.. this was the beginning of our beautiful and honest friendship.

From then on I tried hard to win his hearts affection. (In a very non-romantic way). At the Women Conference, my teacher knowing I was an editor, set me up with Nick to be his assistant. It was the best gig ever. I mainly hung out with him talking about life, God, California, and editing. He even let me work on the conference highlights! I’m not sure when I won him over, maybe it was when I brought him his lunch, or maybe it was my pretty house mate who talked to him that night when she saw him and I walking. Whatever it was, I’m glad he opened up his world to me. This is the first photo we ever took together.

In celebration to a conference well done!

From that event on, we become great friends. After long nights of editing, he would always offer to take me home. Here is a glamorous photo of me Nick took while editing in the basement where the computers were:

Those car ride talks alone have changed my life. I was a young 22-year-old girl who had a wounded heart and Nick became my honest and trustworthy friend, just what I needed. He became family. Even though Nick and I were close friends only for a short season in both of our lives, I know I will never forget him and hope he will never forget me.

I found his faith in God encouraging, his passion for editing inspiring and his easy going personality addicting. My house mates hated watching movies with us, as they could care less about what frame rate something was filmed in. He let me be a geek and a wanna be hippie artist at the same time. He never made me feel guilty for being myself.

He was one of the hardest people to leave behind when I left Sydney. Since then we have seen each other about once a year. This time last year I went back for a visit and just a few months ago he was on tour with the Hillsong team. Though I don’t talk to him everyday, I still remember those life changing conversations we had.

I write this special post for him today..

to say Happy Birthday Editing Soul Mate. I miss you and know the next time I see you, it will be like we were never apart. I will for sure, come to your wedding.

 

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Going back in Time

Today I went back in time. To a place I haven’t visited since I was eight years old.

I came home today and asked where my parents were going. They told me an old pastor friend died and tonight was his funeral. From my memory this man had always been old. He was my friend’s grandfather. The thought of him passing never crossed my mind though. He was a person who always was. He was a pastor from the church my family used to go to in the 90’s. I had my childhood at this place, and it was where I learned about God.

When I step in to the building I began to recognize the decorations. The cross that hug in the middle of the altar with a purple robe around it. The banners declaring, “He is the King of Kings.” Even the pulpit that I used to draw over and over as a child in church. The room was full of chatter, everyone who had ever called that church home was there. My fellow classmates where now grown adults with small children hanging on them.

My parents and I said our condolences to the family and made our way to the back to find a seat. As we passed rows and rows of people, I began to recognize faces I hadn’t seen since I was a child. Some people looked the same and others had aged dramatically. As service started, they began to singing old christian songs I hadn’t heard since I was a small kid. They had no graphics for the words but then again they had sung these songs for twenty years, even I knew all the songs by heart.

The pastor’s granddaughter and I used to play “church” when we were little girls.¬† We would wear my mom’s dresses and sing all the church songs. There was this one time when my friend’s grandfather preached and said, “It’s time we stop playing church.” We looked at each other and said, “Oh no, we can’t play church anymore!” I laugh now, knowing that he meant to no longer pretend to be a christian. haha..

Since this funeral was on their normal church service, they took up an offering. Their tithing envelope was exactly the same. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I even told my dad, “Look!” He then said, “Theirs the 10%”, and pointed to the cut out pieces of the coin. Here was my dad, teaching me the principal of tithing, as if I were once again eight years old looking at the picture. I asked for an envelope so I could keep it as a memento.

Oh what memories a funeral can bring back. How amazing one’s life can impact a crowd.

Today, I went back in time and visited my childhood church family. It was great seeing everyone again. I wish we were all still together.¬† But life happens, and everyone’s journey changes through time. Even though today everyone there said good bye to a great pastor, I really said my goodbye when I was eight. For me, that was the last time I saw him.

Even though we don’t know when someone is going to die, the same could be said about not knowing when someone we love might exit our lives forever. I find both are painful.

Here is a great song to leave you with: Autumn Leaves

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Money can’t buy creative passion

I am probably the only video editor who doesn’t own a DSLR, a Mac computer, or a video camera. ¬†How do I get work done? ¬†Well, I make use of the resources around me. ¬†I bought a film camera at a Goodwill and use my church’s video camera sometimes. ¬†Everywhere I’ve worked, I have always had a Mac with all my editing programs.

I know I need to get my own equipment so I can finally experiment and reach my creative potential.

This year I plan on saving up for some good equipment,  that and save to move to Paris.  So though I may not have the best equipment I do have creative passion.  And you can not buy creative passion.

I love what the Bible teaches about how God looks at the heart and not the outer appearance.  It reminds me that where I go in life it will be because of the passion that is in my heart not because I can create the best video in the world.

And that helps me create the next video with DV footage or take photos for fun with my grainy film camera.

 

Australian & New Zealand travels

A dream of mine for years was to go to Bible College in Texas.  After things didn’t work out because of finances I went to design school and studied video editing and graphic design.  Even in the midst of my new-found passion as an artist, I still never forgot my desire to go to Bible College.

After much exposure to some of Hillsong United DVD’s that documented a youth movement in Sydney, Australia, I began to do research. Turns out it was not only an amazing church but a Bible College that offered a course in TV and Media.  It was the perfect place for me.

There I met some amazing people and had some great opportunities. I volunteered for their large conferences as a camera person and assistant. The moment they found out I had some background in video editing and design I was asked to be apart of the youth video team.  There I became a faithful volunteer and later was asked to do some paid jobs for albums and weekly church services. This is my demo reel of the work I did. Things were making sense as to why God had me wait things out and go to school first.  My passion + my faith and love for Him was going to come together for my = destiny.

Almost 3 years later since I called New South Whales home, my life has changed and I have grown dramatically as a person.  I recently went back for a visit. Here is a video I edited together of some of the fun moments I had with my Australian and New Zealand Friends.

In New Zealand, it felt like time stopped. I no longer could hear the clock ticking. We came across the most amazing greenhouse at one of the museum.

When we were out getting lunch I found a little book store which had the most unique books I ever came across. If I was alone I would have spent a few hours in this used book store. Looking through all the rows of books I found a book of poems that caught my attention, I knew this would be perfect for my collection.

The best part of going back and visiting friends was seeing how much they changed and grew. I was also able to see how far I came along, and how much this place was no longer home for me.

On the last day I went to the Harbor and said good bye to the beautiful city, I knew I wouldn’t see it again for a very long time.

Encounterfest Video

For  years I dreamt of attending Hillsong College in Australia. I wanted to devote myself to learning leadership skills, biblical principles, and to give my talent to encourage the church. While I was there I was able to create projects that thousands around the world have seen. I enjoy work that has a great purpose and that influences people to go after their dreams, potential and get connected to God.

The Encoutnerfest youth conference was the first time I not only edit projects for a conference, but looked over a team of editors as a producer.

1st Editor/Producer/Graphics

The Search for Her

The honesty that a film carries reflects on the filmmaker. I believe the filmmaker must stay true to the characters they create, even if it means disagreeing with the characters reactions. People value honesty, its something that isn’t seen much. Everything in front of our eyes is edited to appear a curtain way. I often say its my job as an editor to lie. But creating “The Search for Her” short film was my chances to finally be honest.

This was my first film that I wrote, directed and edited. It was fun to gather friends and recreate what I wrote alone in a room. Behind the scenes photos: