… and to be totally honest, changed my son’s life, too.
By definition, POWER UP is the Professional Organization of Women in Entertainment Reaching Up, the only 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Film Production Company & Educational Organization for Women and the GLBTQ Community. Before Alec was born, I had been planning on moving to SoCal to work in the film and television industry. His birth put that plan on hold for a few years. I continued to write screenplays, produce films and teach filmmaking to keep my inner fire alive. I taught 3D animation and learned to composite animated and live action elements to find new ways of telling my stories.
Alec grew up to love film as much as I did and decided he wanted to work in the industry, too. He worked in a post production house in Manhattan for three years to hone his skills. A confluence of events and it looked like we were both going to be wanting to head west to find our fortunes in LaLa Land. Our network in LA was quite small, so I started working on an idea for how to widen our circle of friends and increase our chances of success. How to do that? I felt like Winnie the Pooh … think, think, think.
Then, I recalled my friend had told me about this organization in LA that helped women be successful in the film industry. I had checked their website out years earlier and decided to revisit it. There I discovered the lists for the annual POWER PREMIERE. The Power Premiere is an annual event honoring the ten most amazing gay women (and, now, men) in the film and television industry. I read the biographies of all those women, starting searching the internet and trades for anything I could find. These were the people I wanted to be working with, the people I wanted to be meeting.
I started reading about the POWER UP events and knew I’d be able to meet some of these extraordinary people at these events but there were two problems. The events were every other month or so and I wanted a more enduring, continuing connection. So, I looked up all of the “power people” on Facebook. I could find most of them. So, I figured, what the heck, and sent a friend request.
When I started this process, most of my friends on FB were family, friends, students, fellow faculty, other indie filmmakers AND the folks I’d been meeting at the Sundance Film Festival since 1996. So, I had a good group of creative, artistic, productive friends … just very few that were inside the established industry.
I was pleased that many of them accepted my friend request. Suddenly the day-to-day professional LA conversation started to be in my daily world. There were several friends and family members (like my son) who were dubious about my plan of action. Then, one day, VFX Exec Producer Jenny Fulle accepted my friend request. (I later looked her up in IMDb and was amazed at her body of film work!) I noticed that people often teased her about her SCRABBLE prowess, accused her of memorizing the dictionary and things like that. So, one Sunday morning, Jenny sent out Facebook general distress call. She wanted to know if anyone was willing to play Scrabble with her. I accepted the challenge and was stomped into the ground. We kept playing. I asked her how she won so often and how her scores were so high. To her regret, she told me, and now I stomp her as often as she stomps me. We do have a blissful Scrabble relationship.
During our games, we conversed about our impending move, Alec’s career goals and my film aspirations. We arranged a brunch to meet face-to-face. Jenny has a son, so I felt completely comfortable bringing Alec along to the meeting. We all hit it off great and a great friendship was formed. A couple weeks later, Jenny called Alec to tell him she knew of a potential PA job on a good film. His resume was tweaked, his dress suit was dry cleaned and an interview was set. Less than two days after moving to LA, Alec had a job working on PRIEST, a multi-million dollar VFX film. It was amazingly lucky.
He loves his job. The hours are long and the work is hard. He doesn’t care, he loves his job. He loves the people he works with. He loves what he is doing. Night before last, the PA’s on the film got to dress up and be extras on one of the city scenes. You never know which pieces of film they’re going to use in the final edit so Alec may not appear in the film. He said it was cold shooting all night and the shoes were uncomfortable but, I could tell, he was happy with his tiny little moment on film.
Without POWER UP, I never would have known Jenny existed. Without Facebook (and Scrabble), I never would have had the chance to develop a friendship with Jenny and she never would have met Alec. I thank heaven every day for Jenny Fulle and POWER UP. They changed both of our lives forever. Tomorrow, how POWER UP changed my life.
Holy cow! I just looked at the date stamp for my last post and it was almost a month ago … how can that be? This is the problem with building websites for other people … you forget about your own cuz you’re always working on someone else’s. Our move to the coast took up a lot of time and energy. I’m just now starting to feel like this is home. Six weeks later. Geeeeeez.
Production started Monday on PRIEST, the film Alec is working on. His insane working schedule just got crazier. Last night he came home totally sunburned and clucking like a chicken. Apparently there were animal wranglers and chickens on set yesterday.
According to Fangoria and The Hollywood Reporter, Karl Urban has taken the lead villain’s role in PRIEST. He’ll take on the vampire-battling priest played by Paul Bettany, a sheriff portrayed by TWILIGHT’s Cam Gigandet and Maggie Q’s warrior priestess in the postapocalyptic scenario.
Directed by Scott Stewart from a script by Cory Goodman, PRIEST casts Urban as Black Hat. The New Zealand-born actor, recently seen as Dr. McCoy in STAR TREK. PRIEST is targeting an August 13, 2010 release date.
I am getting so much grief about not writing more often. I have been so crazy busy for the last few months, I have hardly had time to breathe much less write on the blog. Closing things up in Arizona, transitioning to California. Packing. Unpacking. It’s been stressful for both Alec and me. We spent the last six weeks in Arizona teaching gifted students in a summer program at Phoenix Country Day School. It was awesome. Two weeks of Maya 3D animation, two weeks of filmmaking and two more weeks of Maya.
The most exciting thing last week was Alec getting a job at Sony (on the Visual Effects Production Staff, on the Sony lot!) working on the film PRIEST. According to the internet, the film was introduced and discussed at Comicon this last week. According to the website, they unveiled the poster which features Paul Bettany. Very cool poster. Back to the story of Alec. He interviewed on Monday and got a call on Tuesday. He started on Wednesday and he loves it, loves it, loves it. He works with the super talented, super amazing Jenny Fulle. He will learn soooo much. It’s looking like it will be about a one-year production position which extends from pre-production through production AND post production. What an education! What an opportunity! What a lucky guy! The funniest thing (in my opinion) is that his Sony ID has his photograph, his name and the film he’s working on … so his ID says, “Alec Hart, Priest” … this is hysterical for everyone who knows Alec.
News on the internet is that Cam Gigandet (who played the evil vampire in TWILIGHT) is going to be starring in a new movie called PRIEST. Screen Gems, a division of Sony Corp will be distributing it. To be directed by Scott Stewart, PRIEST is a horror, Western, vampire flick.
The film is set in a world ravaged by centuries of war between humans and vampires. People are congregated in cities for their “safety and protection.” The skies are polluted, there is little privacy, daily religious observance is required. Only rebels and outcasts dare to live outside the city walls in the Wasteland. Gigandet will play a sheriff who is part vampire who joins the rescue team to save his niece. Michael De Luca, Josh Donen, and Mitchell Peck will be producing the film.