By Wesley Riddle
As I look back at whats happened in the last week I’m surprised I’m alive! Not to be too over-dramatic, but it has been a whirlwind of emotions. They tell you as an artist to be prepared to fail and that you are going to hear “no” a lot. For me this whole campaign started for me with an emphatic “No.”, and even having prepared myself all my life for that word this one took me a moment to shake.
It was about mid set-up for the launch party that it struck me, “why are you lingering on that one no?” I took a deep breath and looked around, there were people helping us set up that I didn’t even know. We received contributions to the party from Tito’s Vodka and Buddha’s Brew Kombucha, a couple of our volunteers even brought cupcakes!
In that moment I knew I was being silly, that I had let one “no” be equal to countless “YES!”, and with another breath I released the “no” and celebrated the rest of the party!
Which, was a huge success (if I do say so myself)! I still can’t believe the generosity of Buddha’s Brew Kombucha and Tito’s Vodka, or how good they taste together. Juliet Buck’s set was killer!
She had a great acoustic version of Grey Eyes.
By the end of the night we had 22% of our goal!
As I type this we are nearing 50%, and this is still the first week. I feel like I should just write THANK YOU until my hands fall off, but I won’t. I will however say to all that have contributed and followed, and all who might. Thank you. I see you. I love you.
If you'd like to join us, you still have time: www.seedandspark.com/fund/and-breathe.
By Brittany Flurry
I sit here frantic and unfocused as I write this- I forgot about it. (Editor's note: Elena forgot to remind Brittany to write it. Brittany is too hard on herself. Brittany is wonderful.) Much like many of the bulleted notes that lurk on my far from finished to do list- I overloaded myself again and I’m falling behind. The irony of how frazzled I am while writing to promote a film called “And Breathe” is not lost on me. I think about all my carefully planned and finally attained self-care regimens that have gone out the window. The old habits and coping mechanisms that have crept back in since stress took over yet again. The overwhelmed feeling sitting on my chest like the elephant in the room I’ve been avoiding for months… and I want to cry. I want to fall to pieces. I want to shake a finger at myself for ending up back here after working so hard to be healthy and happy. But instead I choose to take a step back. I choose kindness. Excuse me while I breathe for a moment.
But while I’m up there… why do I feel like something is missing even when I’m surrounded by people I love working on some of the most amazing projects I’ve done in my life/career to date? Because I’m missing it. I’m swept up in it without taking care of myself first. My well is running dry because I have not been refilling it. I’m a shell moving through these amazing things wondering why it doesn’t mean more. And it’s because the real me isn’t here right now. And getting back to me starts in the simplest of ways- stopping to take a breath.
This movie is a reminder. A loving tap on the shoulder to slow down. To be where you really are. To sit in whatever it is for a moment. And breathe.
Then choose your next thought and move forward.
Tomorrow at 2pm we launch a crowdfunding campaign for this film. Another old thought pattern is my dread of asking for help. Which is funny, considering how much I give (and the joy in which I give). Asking others to help scares me shitless. But I let it go now. Because I need this film. You need this film. Your best friend, your neighbor, your senator, your bus driver... everyone needs this film. Join us in making this beautiful film which I hope will have a lasting impact on those who view it, and that by getting closer to the real versions of ourselves- we can make this world a bit brighter each day.
I consider myself a writer and a director, but in my twenties, acting was my primary discipline. Auditioning was my life. I auditioned for a lot of projects, student films, independent films, and music videos. And I couldn’t help but notice a theme: most of the characters I auditioned for were named “Girlfriend,” “Wife,” or “Mother.” They were nameless women whose relationship to the male lead defined them. The scripts that I was exposed to were mostly written by men. Now, before anyone gets in a huff, I said “most” and “mostly.” I absolutely auditioned for (and was cast in) roles that were complex and meaningful and were written by men. Being a man doesn’t mean that someone can’t write exciting roles for ladies, just like being a woman doesn’t mean that they can’t write great roles for dudes. But I am going to let you in on a little writing secret: most protagonists are versions of the writer’s psyche. Women comprised only 11% of the writers for the top 100 grossing Hollywood films of 2016. The gap isn’t quite as wide in independent films, but my personal experience was that most scripts were penned by men. I always enjoyed the auditions with female writers when I got to go on them. I found myself wishing there were more female writers.
When I began writing, having dynamic and three dimensional female characters was one of my guiding principles. I love writing awesome roles for women. I love when actresses tell me that a role I wrote was fun to play. When Brittany Flurry, Jessica Brooks, and I were writing The Naked Feminist, we had such a great time coming up with the wide variety of ladies who would populate our show. Two-thirds of our speaking roles were women. On my newest project, And Breathe, eighty percent of the speaking roles are female. There are not a lot of characters in my short film, but I love all of them so much.
I have already cast the wonderful Brittany Flurry as Maya. Brittany has an exquisite range and plays vulnerability and strength with grace and power. When she cries, I cry. When she smiles, I smile. Brittany is also a joy to work with; she gives every role her all, is hilarious on set, and takes direction easily.
I am very excited to cast the other roles in the next few weeks.