Years ago, I set out to make a promotional video. My photography mentor made a big deal about it and he's almost always right. I had no idea what to say or what I was trying to do, but I knew I needed something different--I'm not the sit-on-the-couch, discuss-my-first-camera, talk-about-how-I-just-love-people, show-me-shooting-fake-clients-and-showing-them-the-back-of-my-camera type. I wanted to show the core of who I am as a photographer, my deep connection to nature, the driving force behind the art I create, and an authentic story of why anyone should care or trust me with their memories.
I must have written 50 potential scripts. When I finally wrote something I was really proud of, I sent it off to my mentor. He said, "try again, this doesn't say anything about you." Dammit. I polled some of my colleagues for ideas. I wrote a lot of crap. I rearranged all the crap several times, and had a few days I felt good about it until I read it again. In the back of my head, I heard, "Try again, this doesn't say anything about you."
I eventually threw it all out, and went on a creative retreat to a remote part of the Oregon Coast. I thought, fab!, I'll have all this quiet time and SURELY the words will just pour into my soul along with the ocean air. It'll happen. I'll write the script over the week and it'll finally be awesome. Right?
I wrote two words on one of the pages of my work notebook: "Promo Video". Under that, I wrote a boat-load of adjectives and nouns about my target clients. And then I went out and made photos, talked to people, ran through the waves, wrote other things, and cleared my brain of many of the things holding it back.
Exactly one week after I came home from the retreat, I grabbed my work notebook and stared at the adjectives and nouns that, together, made the people I work with so wonderful. I stared. And stared.
"What am I trying to do here?" I asked myself in desperation.
"Invite," I thought.
Then it all fell out in a seemingly-tiny pile of words: an invitation. It took 24 hours for me to realize that it just took me two minutes to type what I'd been trying to say for three, long years.
Writing something honest, compelling and interesting is one of the hardest things most artists will ever do--especially about ourselves. We're good at knowing, and not always good at explaining. And I had been explaining the bejeezus out of it, telling a story that not even I cared about. I got all verbose and lost in adjectives, as we daughters of English majors can do with unbelievable ferocity.
So, here is my seemingly-tiny pile of words, worked into a magical film by my dear friend Jonathan at Atelier Pictures. I hope you enjoy, and get all goosebumpy. This is me.
Without Jonathan's dogged understanding of my intention, his love and embrace of adventure, and incredible storytelling ability, this wouldn't have turned out to be the authentic mirror of my soul that it so clearly is. Without Sarah & Brendan, Sarah M., and Amy & Isaac, my darling clients /friends who were willing to get sandy and muddy with me, it wouldn't be real. Without Scott and Tamara and Amanda and the beach, the script wouldn't be what it is. Without the nature-obsessed cellist/composer from Seattle, Shaun Diaz, the music would have a hard time keeping up with the visuals. Without NRS and Forge Films, I wouldn't have the visual references to show Jonathan, "I WANT THAT!" Without my husband Nathan, I wouldn't have even started this journey, and certainly wouldn't have the clarity and support he gives me daily (or the aerial footage). I am so very grateful to all of them.