The Buzz of the City

The buzz of the city filled the air with endless possibilities. From the moment we saw the bay bridge we knew we were in for an adventure. I imagined young people working in their studio offices making creative decisions that would influence our culture.

The first stop we made was a hidden coffee shop. When I walked in the doors, I saw tables full of people talking and visiting with one another. I was tempted to ask them what they did for a living so I too could be in a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning at 10am hanging out with friends.  We ordered our lattes and pretend we were one of them.


We later made our way to watch the sun set at the beach. The people of the city seemed to be searching for a connection with nature, the parks were full of runners and the beach with surfers. I saw business people in their cars, looking in to the sunlight and an older couple standing at the edge of the sand taking in the moment. Then there was us, talking about hopes for the future.

The drive down the city streets made me forget about what was happening on-line and enjoy the present moment. We kept telling one another to stop taking photos, to look out the window and see what was all around us. 

Once we got inside a pub for dinner, I was glad to see there were no big TV screens on. We told one another to place our phones in the middle of the table and enjoy hanging out with one another. Conversations about business and dreams of making money seemed to light up the room.

We tried to imagine the lives of those who call San Francisco home. Its here that the city encourages individuality.

My favorite part of the trip was when we visited a fancy coffee shop that sold toast and coffee for $10. I figured I was paying for the experience of living a life style I’ve only dreamt of. I was inspired by the big groups of people exchanging ideas. I imaged staff from twitter, or from a new high tech company meeting at these very tables, planning on the next big thing. It made me want to create an encouraging community like this back where I live.

We gave ourself the afternoon to be tourist and to visit some well known locations.

A friend told us to visit the Golden Gate Bridge from a different location. I enjoyed hanging out by the water, listening to the birds pass by, laughing and making jokes with one another.

On our final night we left the car behind, and took public transport. We wanted to blend in and feel what it was like to live in such a thriving city. One thing is for sure, living in the city there is very little room for personal space.

I thought the city was beautiful at night, but at sunrise, it glows with hope.

I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but this time I finally captured the heart of what San Fran is all about.

Be yourself…no matter how weird you are. 

Audio: Old Family Photos

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Intro

Photo 1 – My Grandfather

Photo 2 – The Funeral

Photo 3 – The Older Sister

Photo 4 – Baby Boomer Generation (my mom: the fourth child)

Photo 5 – I Felt Sorry for Him

Story – The Dishes (my mom: the top left)

What Did She Teach You?

What Do You Stay About Family? (my mom: the second child on the bottom)

What Happened When She Died?

What Would You Say To Your Grandchildren? (photo: older brother)

The Photo System

I am reading this amazing book called, “In the Blink of An Eye” by famous film editor Walter Murch. He gives amazing insight and speaks a language I understand.

As I begin to work on my small movie scene that I shot this weekend, I am following his instructions carefully. I am hanging on every word.

“Film -is not so much a putting together as it is a discovery of a path..”

“The more film there is to work with… the greater the number of pathways that can be considered..”

“The cut..should look almost self-evidently simple and effortless, if it is even noticed at all.”

“Attempt to produce the greatest effect in the viewer’s mind by the least number of things on screen.”

“It takes more work and discernment to decided where not to cut-”

How do you want your audience to feel?”

“What they finally remember is not the editing, not the camera work, not the performances, not even the story-it’s how they felt.”

“Separate out what you wish from what is actually there…see what is actually on the screen.”

“Editor’s job is to propose alternative scenarios..”

He recommends printing out a few frames from each scene. Taping them on the wall and then looking at each frame. To notice the language of emotions.

“..frames that were never meant to go together and yet there they were, right next to each other.”

“..keep your awareness, to really be alive to the possibilities in each shot..”

Even though I already notice a few mistakes I’ve made, I want to take my time and think about the edit. I want to sit back and look at my wall of frames.

Photoshoot: Me

My older sister put the idea in my head, “Monica, you should do a photoshoot of yourself before you get old.”

In the house of every old woman is a photo of her when she was young. Her beauty displays the time she lived in and the person she once was. I wanted a photo of myself for this very reason. I want my children and grandchildren to know who I am. I want them to look at my picture and wonder about the young woman I once was.

The hard part was figuring out what style I wanted to do. I enjoy things that are vintage but felt it wouldn’t display who I am now.

I then saw the perfect dress with a pattern that reminded me of my culture. I then remembered Joshua Tree. How beauty and peace it was. It was all coming together. The theme would be, “nature, spirit, and earth.”

The interesting thing was that this photoshoot comforted me with the questions, “How much do you value yourself Monica?” From the choice of lens, to getting my make up done by Dez, to the awesome location of Joshua Tree. I even felt embarrassed to ask my photographer friends for help. I finally asked Michael who I have known for years. I told him how I felt vain, he then answered, “Its not vain, its art.”

Though I kept directing Michael and even called him my human tripod, he ended up taking some of my favorite photos when I let him do his thing.

Thank you to the two Ayala brothers that helped me. The conversation during the long drive was delightful.

Some extras we took cause we’re having so much fun:

Everyone should have a photo shoot of them selves.

Not sure which photo of these I will display in my house when I’m 60 years old until then I will enjoy my youth.

Monica Briano, video editor. photographer. dreamer