My Week in London

A transformation happens when you open yourself to traveling. It can feel like time traveling in to a whole different world, and when you think about it, that is exactly what it is.

My friend who is living in London invited me for a week to see the city. He also planned a trip to Paris for us to enjoy. I find it amazing how a week somewhere different can impact transformation.

Day 1:

A nine hour flight couldn’t keep me down. The first day I landed I wanted to see the city. Sam picked me up from the airport and took me to Chelsea where we would be staying. He works at a five star hotel in the fancy part of town and was able to get us a room for a few days. He tells me The Beatles once stayed there.

I was excited to see what London was all about for my self. It was actually better than I imagined. The streets were full of people, the sun was peaking through the clouds and there was so much to see. We walked around the city streets and made our way to dinner. Sam wanted to give me a real English dinner – potato and meat – before we made our way to see, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Day 2:

I had a list of things to do that I received from a good friend who use to live in London. Since her and I are similar in taste and style, I knew she would recommend me some fun things to do in the city. Sam and I made our way to Notting Hill for breakfast and to check out the out door markets. I was in heaven when I saw the amount of small tea houses. We found this cute little place called, Charlie’s that was hidden. It made me realized how lucky I was to enjoy a cup of tea in England, something I always dreamt of.

The Portabello Markets was an adventure of its own. I loved looking at how everyone was dressed. I kept melting at the site of an English child. When shopping, I tried not to let anyone hear me talk so they wouldn’t hear my American accent and charge me more for ideas. I had Sam ask for me so I could get some good deals. Sam bought me this amazing vintage camera but to this day we don’t know how to open it.

After shopping we stopped at Hammingbird Cafe for a cupcake. The smell of the cupcakes are so amazing I tried to take a photo to capture it, but it didn’t seem to work. 🙂

Since it was Sam’s Birthday I told him we should eat our cupcake at the Buckingham Palace. We walked through the Hyde Park and made our way to the Queen’s house. After he showed me the Westminster Cathedral where Prince William got married.

The best time to see London is at night. The city lights up with all its glory.

The best part of traveling is meeting new people and making new friends. At Sam’s Birthday dinner I was taken by everyone’s story and their friendliness. Everyone seemed to be away from their families and yet here at dinner a new one was created. I loved hearing their journey and learning what brought them to this amazing city. When I was talking to one of the girls she asked me what I do for a living, I said something that stuck with me the rest of the night, “I didn’t mean to become a contract editor, sometimes life’s accidents are part of God’s greatest plans.”

Day 3 & 4: Paris Trip 

Day 4: I love the fact I can travel anywhere in the world and visit my Hillsong family. Hillsong Church in London made me feel at home. It reminded me of all the amazing things God did in my life while I lived in Sydney. This trip was beginning to speak to into my life.

To never lose hope, never give up on your dream, you never know where they will take you.

After church a bunch of us walked to Chinatown for dinner. The cool thing is that everyone ordered food and shared it. The jokes filled the room and my laugh could be heard for miles.

Day 5:

Finally, a day to sleep in. We went back to where Sam lives, a few mile away from the city and rested. We grab a fast coffee and went to Camden Town – where the hipsters shop.

I couldn’t help but check out what everyone was wearing.

Suddenly I was more intrigued by the people than the buildings. They were far more interesting.

We made our way down to the fancy part of the city Jermyn Street and had high tea! It was great drinking our lovely drinks and talking about life, love and God. We encouraged one another and shared what God was doing in both of our lives. Sam and I went to Bible College together in 2006 and both studied TV and Media. We laughed and talked about how the next time we see each other both of us would probably be married with children.

As we made our way to meet up with another college friend, we stop by an alley full of great bookshops. When I saw my college friend Sarah, I was over joyed. I felt like we were in Sydney. I never got a chance to really hear her story because we were so busy with college life so it was great to sit down and finally get to know each other.

Day 6:

My last full day in London. We took it easy and visited the beautiful London Observatory. The large green lawn was so beautiful, taking a photo didn’t do it justice.You could see the full city from the top view. It was relaxing to watch the city stand still.

When we were waiting for the subway we were told that our train would be delay since someone was on the train tracks. I guess its a common thing for people to kill themselves by jumping in front of a train.

I couldn’t help but wonder who it was and why did they want to end it. This is such a great place to live, but I guess even in the greatest city in the world, we can feel lonely. We took a taxi instead.

At Soho there were record stores on every corner, cafe’s, and vintage stores. This city was made for me!

Day 7: Airport – Home.

I used every hour and minute to listen to see what this adventure was saying to me. Sam is working at a five star hotel, living in London, Sarah is working hard at her job and volunteering at church, the people I sat and talked with are in the middle of pursuing their dreams. It made me realized that no one has it all figured out. In this season of mine where I am taking a step of faith, traveling and spending time with people. I realized how blessed I am to do this.

While in the hotel we watched, “Dan in Real Life” and the ending line of the movie sum it up for me, “Don’t plan life, plan to be surprise.”

My Favorite 2011 Albums

Every year I like to document the music that affected me the most. Each songs reminds me of a feeling I felt in 2011..good or bad. Maybe I make music to personal but for me, it’s the way I understand my feelings and even express myself. Sometimes it’s not so much the words that I relate with but the emotion it creates.
I’m always in search of a new song, but sometimes the songs finds me.

Here are my 2011 Favorite Album:

1. Within and Without (Bonus Track Version)- Washed Out play
2. You Are All I See (Bonus Track Version)- Active Child play
3. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.- M83 play
4. Where We Are- Mackintosh Braun play
5. Making Mirrors- Gotye play
6. Ghost Upon the Earth- Gungor play
7. Ceremonials- Florence & The Machine play
8. Pulling Our Weight – The Radio Dept. play
9. Songs About Us- Us and Our Daughters play
10. Brothers (Deluxe Version)- The Black Keys play

What were some albums you fall in love with this year?

Behind the Scene: I am a Kid

“I am a Kid” was a day-dream I had while listening to, I Believe in Your Victory by This Will Destroy You.

I imaged how a young couple would react when put in an adult situation. How immaturity would affect their decisions and reactions. I pictured the girl saying one thing but really meaning another. I imaged her pushing away a person she loved because it was the only thing she knew how to do. Or if she gave herself to someone she didn’t really care about. I thought about the impact a choice could have on both their lives and affect the future of a child.

An hour before filming, my male actor backed out. Savanna and I began to text around and found Danny. He came to our rescue. When it was time to tell Danny and Savanna the plot, I was a bit embarrassed, “So you’re going to tell him you’re pregnant.” I felt weird telling them this as both of them are from my church’s youth group. Thankfully, they both laughed and said okay.

If you noticed there isn’t an establishing shot. The sun was setting when I filmed the exterior scene which was my beginning and end. By the time we got inside the car to film the dialogue, you could see it was evening outside their window. If I left in the end, she would have walked in to daylight. Another slip I made was crossing the line on the exterior shot. A classic mistake that I couldn’t believe I made on my first scene! I decided to leave it out. I read an article from the editor of DRIVE, Mat Newman, which made me okay with my decision.

“What we wanted was to create something that’s very dreamy all the way through.  We tried not to use establishing shots so the viewer would be a bit disoriented.  The dissolves worked into that intention also. The editing is all about transitions and sustaining the mood and tension.”

To give you some background about myself: I am a commercial editor. I am so used to communicating all my thoughts in 30 seconds. I edit video fast and make them fast. W.Murch’s talks about this, “In The Blink of an Eye.” 

“Television is a “look-at” medium, while cinema is a “look-into” medium. You can think of the television scene as a surface that the eye hits and then bounces back…One of the functions of music videos and commercials is to attract your attention and keep it…feature editing has to be paced differently than music videos of commercial editing.”

I decided I’d finish reading the book before I edited my scene. The book was full of good practical tips. It would also give me time to disconnect with the filming and see the footage with some fresh eyes.

Until then, I prepared my footage. I asked my film editor friend about syncing up the visual and audio. He then introduced me to merging clips in FCP. I had no idea about this future! You can watch how to merge clips on youtube.

I took some of Walter Murch’s advice. I did the Photo System, posted the frames on my wall, I edited with no audio, I even tried standing up when editing, all of his wisdom was helping me grow.

When I was ready to edit, I ran in to a problem right away. Since I told my actors to improv, each take was different. Making sense of it all was challenging.

Here is a list of things I learned from this filming:

– Get coverage. Get some close ups even when you think you don’t need them.

– Make sure the time of day you film won’t change during your filming.

– Communicate with your audio person how you want things recorded. Record atmosphere.

– When logging your footage, numbering the clips help. It allows you see that all clips transferred over. Digital transfer sometimes skips clips.

Now I want to hear from you, the viewer. Your honesty will help me grow. Since I created this project in a week, my heart can take your honesty. 🙂 If you like watching movies I wanna hear what you thought about the scene.

How did you react when watching the scene?

What did you think about the characters?

What would you have liked to see more of?

Thanks for reading this post, I know it was a lot of information. Hope you learned something. I know I did.

Movie Scene: I am a Kid

I gave my self a week to film, edit and post a completed movie scene.  Tomorrow I’ll write about the making of, what I learned, and what this scene means.

One thing I will share with you: I have chosen my audience and who I want to delight. I enjoy movies that are honest and full of subtext themes.

Share your thoughts, comments and feel free to critique me. I am doing this to learn 🙂

watch on youtube

Project Movie Scene

I notice my photography gets better every time I do a shoot. Its mainly because I keep on shooting, even when no one hires me out, I still pick up my camera and shot. Why? Because I love it.

What I really love is to edit. I want to edit films one day and even make them. How and when? Who knows. To be honest, I want to make movies now.  I want to learn the art of storytelling, editing, directing and everything that goes in to capturing a scene. The best way to learn this is to do it. I am apart of a very lucky generation. I own a great camera, editing software and have a massive audiences called the internet. The only thing stopping me from making a movie is me.

I came up with the idea to film a scene that would be in a movie every month, more often if possible. I will gather a few actors, give them the storyline and have them act it out. By doing this I will learn how to communicate, how to shoot, and edit a scene. Here I will make mistakes and learn from them.

I filmed the first of Project Movie Scene this evening. I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing it. It seemed to re-fuel my passion for filming.

Its called, “I am a Kid.”

Cinematography with Gale Tattersall

I first discovered Creativelive when photographer Jeremy Cowart posted a link to an interview he did with Chase Jarvis. After I watched that interview I must have spent a few hours watching some of Creativelive’s workshops. I then became a devoted student.

I got an email announcing the news that Gale would be teaching a Cinematography workshop with the HD DSLR. The requirement was to send in a video. I for one hate bring on camera but I knew this was a chance in a life time.

My video was chosen and off  I was to Seattle to learn film making from House’s Director of Photography, Gale Tattersall.

Gale was one of the first people in Hollywood to use the HD DSLR for production filming. Word began to spread that these small cameras could produce high-end quality video.

Ending all excuses.

I enjoyed learning from Gale because he not only embraces new technology but has been working on films for years.

Here are some things I learned while in the workshop. You can buy the videos here if you like.

-“To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.” Alfred Hitchcock

-Use the right camera for the right situation

-The HD DSLR was first used on House to solve a problem: Great for filming in tight areas.

-Using more than one camera side by side to get the same performance but different framing.

-Use the depth to field & framing to better tell the story.

-Direct the eye. Control the depth to field, what you want the viewer to look at.

-Use lighting to tell the story, don’t over romanticize every shot. Sometimes things need to be ugly and uncomfortable. Good cinematography is invisible. Make it to follow the story.  It’s easy to take it in the wrong direction. Each scene can have a different “genera”.

-Do camera test. See which ISO works best with less grain. (160/320/1250). Camera test will save you time.

-Set white balance according to the lighting temperature.

-Separate your eye from your brain. See what is really there: color reflections, shadows, white balance degrees, lighting, background, etc.

-Know the rules before you break them.

-Talk with the director and writer so you have a clear vision of the project. The director is the captain. Get on his wave length.

-Play with the subconscious.

-Understand lighting, don’t make it noticeable. It’s all about what kinda film you are making. Use the particle lighting in the scene to light the scene: windows, lamps. Justify where the light is coming from. Direct the eye with lighting. Lighting gives attention. Darken the background and illuminate the subject.

-If film making is in your soul, don’t stop, keep on doing it.

-With the HD DLSR cameras you can “dream less and do more.”

photos by: Creativelive & Michael Kleven

Wow that was a lot.. and so much more. Here is a fun video we created in the workshop. When we were previewing the raw footage Gale complement my shot. 🙂 twice. (@:37/@:58)

 

Adventure in LA

Every LA adventure I have is so different. I always discover something new about the city. Yesterday Anabel and I parked the car and walked around the city.

There is this hidden cafe that makes home style breakfast sandwiches. I discovered this place with some friends last summer and since then stop by when I am downtown.

Harlem Place Alley 124 W 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90013

After breakfast we walked to the Art Gallery. We got lost and found Little Tokyo.

City Hall 200 N Spring St Los Angeles, CA 90012

We walked around the block a few times and finally found The Moca Art Museum to see Art in the Street. Its the summer exhibit of graffiti style projects from the 1970’s. The cool thing is that it’s attracting people who wouldn’t normally step foot in an Art gallery. My film camera didn’t do to well in the low light.

THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA 152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

Afterward we crossed the street to El Pueblo. I find this place so fascinating. They sale so many cool hand-made toys, blankets and lots of Mexican restaurants to choose from. It feels like Mexico city.

Pueblo (Union Station and Olvera Street)

We made our way to the car and drove to Santa Monica. We were planning to get in the water but it ended up being so cold. As you can see I am ready to get a tan.

Santa Monica, CA

After the sunset we decided to go see a movie. Anabel noticed this indie theater down the street so we went to look at the posters to see if anything interesting was playing. Anabel made her FB status “I’m @ Santa Monica with Monica @ Monica Theater 4 watching an independent film not quite by Monica :)” It was great to see my name in lights.

1332 2nd St Santa Monica, CA 90401 (photo yelp.com)

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen looked good so we bought our tickets and stood in line with 300 old people. We were the only young ones there.

To have an adventure in a big city or even in the next town next to you. Be spontaneous and let the city come alive. Walk around and have some child like wonder. The best things in life are free.

Things I like to do

Shop at thrift stores

Take photos with my film camera

Go to church

Visit small coffee shops in different cities

Read self-help books, currently reading, “How to be a Lady.”

Buy vintage dresses

Walk through antic shops as if they were museums

Spring clean my room once a week

See movies at small indie theaters

Listen to older people’s love story.

Live in other countries for more than a year

Make tea for friends

Ride my bike

Play with my nephews

Fly my kite in different places in the world

Write in my journal

Write blogs

Text Veronica randomly

Day dream

Drive with the music loud and windows down

Give homeless people all my change just to see their smile

Record life and make it in to a video

Analogize movies and tv shows

Skype chat but not video chat

Conversations about God to anyone who is willing to add their input

Make strangers laugh

I like when people call me weird, not normal, unique, different, odd, intriguing, mysterious, and charismatic.

Write letters and send them in the mail

Listen to Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, KEXP Song of the day, movie sound tracks

Hanging out in record stories

Get to work earlier than everyone else

Clean my hard drive

Listen to the Daily Audio Bible Podcast

People watch

Make cd-mixes for my music lover friends

Create sound tracks for season of my life

Color my hair

Go out to breakfast with my parents

Buy sweaters and jackets

Watching Felicity, Wonder Years, My so-Called life, Save by the Bell over and over again.

What do you like to do?

My Playlist of the Year

My Playlist of the Year
For me music carries feelings, memories, dreams, and inspiration.
Each season I find that I come across a new artist that takes me of a journey.
Here is my soundtrack for 2010.

January: Winter Mix: The Yeah Yeahs //Miike Snow

February: Crystal Castles

March: Ian McIntosh

April: Two Door Cinema Club

May: Simon & Garfunkel

June: Passion Pit

July:  The XX

August: Local Natives // Hammock

September: Autumn mix: Jack Peñate //The Submarines

October: Ellie Goulding // Eva Cassidy – Autumn Leaves // Azure Ray – November

November: Winter Mix: Empire of the Sun//Caspian

December: The Hundred In the Hands//The Honey Trees

You can listen to my playlist on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/p/32B5E483F4E5B8E5?hl=en_US&fs=1

Its strange going back and listening to my favorite songs by these artist . The emotional reaction that it sparked actually made me relive the season I passed through. They did indeed play a role in my life. Most of my songs made me think of a friend that I no longer keep in touch with.