Conversations in a Coffee Shop: An artist blog

  • Laser Focus

    Walked down to one of my favorite coffee houses, just outside Rogers Park, and sat in reflection over a large Green Tea Latte. Feeling stressed out, and pulled in a million directions, I started to reaccess my life. My goals, my career; were I am versus were I want to be. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing like being on the go. Between teaching youth, working with my theatre troupe, auditioning, and trying to get the film off the ground; nothing makes me feel more alive. But at what price? Have I been treading water the last year or so, and mistaking motion for progress. Doing plays and auditioning for commercials is fantastic, but what about the film? What about the film? What about the film!!!!!

    With only 24 hours in a day, it's only natural that certain things get placed on the back burner. But if those things are the things that matter most, it can be counterproductive to say the least. I felt bad about it a first, but I started thinking that I needed to be a little more selfish with my time. Not selfish, from the stand point, of "fuck everybody else, I got mine, you get yours" But selfish in terms of being  more "focused" on the task at hand. Hey, if this film is our baby; we need to start treating it like our baby. Not that we're gonna crawl in a cave and become a hermit, but it will mean cutting back. Cutting back a bit on teaching, though I love working with the kiddos; cutting back on doing shows, though I love being on stage, cutting back on a few things here and there, to move FORWARD with our dreams. Film making is marathon, not a sprint; but the time for laser focus is now. So here's to putting first things first, and making the damn thing happen!!! Oh yeah!!

    Until next time my friends, DREAM BIG AND DARE TO BE GREAT!!

    Stacey Carp

  • Mechanically Challenged

    When it comes to building stuff, the good kid Brad Stevens, and I Stacey Carp are "mechanically challenged" to say the least. I don't even know if that's a phrase, but it should be to describe our total ineptness at putting things together. Example, last year, constructing a simple bookcase from Target took the entire damn weekend, and it still came crashing to the ground in the middle of the night. Never the less, when we got the challenge to shoot a short on a cell phone short, for under $15 dollars, using a home made steady cam, we jumped at the chance!!! Are you kidding me. Jumping into the deep end of the pool and seeing what happens is our life baby!!!

    So the most obvious challenge was building the steady cam; and having no idea how to hell to do it, we went to that ALL KNOWING source curious minds go to, when they want to know. You Tube. There were countless videos on how build your own Fig Rig on the cheap. We're talking $3 to $5 dollars. A few screws and some PVC pipe, and you were off and running. That said, with in 2 minutes of watching said videos, we knew we were in way over our heads. Don't get me wrong, they all did amazing jobs in explaining the process, but there was no way in hell we could f*** with it. So we didn't even try. Yay! Here's to being Quitters!!! Or as I like to say, honoring your limitations.

    But just as all seemed lost, we came across, "How to Make an Impromptu Camera Stabilizer". And one of their ideas was to mount a camera on a stick. A camera on a stick people. We said to ourselves, "Oh hell yeah, this s*** we can do!!!!" So we flew down to our local hardware store, and got some incredible ideas from a salesmen on how to make our stabilizing dreams come true. Honestly folks, they were amazing. The local hardware store can be a film makers best friend yall.

    So here's the set up. As you can see in the pics below, it's incredibly simple. We took apart a wooden easel lying around the house, and attached the wire strips to the board (they're adhesive, so no nailing, hammering or s*** like that). With the strips we created a grove for the cell to set in. Then to keep the damn thing from falling off the stick, we wrapped rubber bands around it. I know, I know, it's not pretty, and the high end stabilizers are probably a little better, but hey, it gets the job done. And that's what it's all about... getting the job done!!

    There's nothing like being an Indie film maker baby. No doubt, when ever the time comes, we're gonna be just as hyped to shoot that big studio flick as we are the shoe string budget joint. But in the Indie world, when you don't have money to throw at challenges, you have to throw creativity. And we saw just that again, and again, and again while researching this thing. Homemade dollies, home made jib arms, home made you name it. Ingenious folks, who refused to let lack of money squash their vision, dampen their spirits. Yes sir, there's something about that, "We're going to shoot this friggin' film, or die trying" mentality, that is contagious and crazy inspiring. So no matter what the obstacles may my friends, keep pushing until you get it done. Because if two mechanically challenged idiots like us can do it, we KNOW you can.

    Tune in next week for more on this shoot. And as always.... Dream Big, and Dare to Be Great!!!



       1) We came across this sweet video on you tube: "How to Make

    an Impromptu Camera Stabilizer".

       2) Purchased Wire Strips from Hardware Store under $5

        3) Took apart easel we had in apartment, used base to

                                                               attach Wire Strips to make a grove for cell to set in.

        4) This is an I Touch in the pic, but the concept works the

                                                               same. After trying it, the shoots looked good,

                                                               but the phone fell off a few times. To solve this, we used  

                                                               rubberbands to secure cell to stick. Yes!!!




  • A New Begining

    Hello Good people!!!

    Been off the blog scene for a while. You know life will do that to ya. Get bogged down in the everyday of everyday existence, and before you know it.... a year has gone by with out putting pen to pad, or fingers to keyboard.

    So what's new. We have a new website, a new blog spot, and a new Kick Starter Campaign for the film which we're hopping to launch before the new year. I can't lie, some times we do get anxious, wondering if this film will ever get made. Wondering if the world will get to see it once it's in the can. Oh yeah, the process can feel daunting at times, like scaling Everest in slippery dress shoes. Running a marathon on glass (yikes). Never the less, neither one of us are ones to chill at pity parties, or pal around with doubt. The road towards greatness is always a rough one, and that's what makes the greats great. If any and everyone could do it, who would give a shit. Oh yeah.

    That said, thanks for reading my friends. Be on the look out for updates on the pre-production process and up coming events, and as always beautiful people. "Dream Big... Dare to be Great!!!"

    Stacey Carpenter