A 48 Hour Film Project Experience

I never done one. I wanted to do one. So, I did one.

“Lights, Camera, Action!”

“That’s the wrap!”

None of this shit was said. I guess none of that matters when you are in a small time slot to brainstorm, write, shoot, and edit a five to seven minute short film in exactly 48 hours, tops. Final editing being the final phase with figuring out the perfect score, sound, and/or music in the perfect slot in the film. Sweat spewing down your face, with anxiety and adrenaline pacing your heartbeat to that of a crooked thug running from the cops in a crime scene. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here, but you get the picture… …er scene image printed within your mind.

I was a bit nervous regardless of the research I did prior to the event. I never did one before, so where the fuck do I start? People. I start with people. The trick was to get just the right amount of dedicated individuals who were willing to be locked in an empty wing of the school over a whole entire weekend, where instead of going out and socializing and drinking with family and/or friends. I mean, it is summer… …isn’t it?

So it’s obvious that recruiting was a challenge. When I reached out to friends about wanting to do a 48 hour with me, I got only a few people interested, but only one fully committed. I felt defeated when we couldn’t get people interested. Especially individuals that were interested in film in the first place.

Then one morning I woke up for just another work day, look at my phone and BAM! A message from one of my mentors stepping in to help recruit a team endorsed by our college program and I was included! Faith restored! However, it was a damn roller coaster trying to keep those interested again. Of course even until the day before the kick off event, people would back out. It is what it is.

Five members of our team would show up to the kick off event. It was as hot and humid as a Vietnam jungle. Dripping sweat, adult beverages, and a crowd packed in an event room like a pack of sardines. What the fuck was this? How big are these six other teams? We have seven. Fucking seven! Producer, Michael Keeney, was NOT joking when he pushed the advice to RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT!

FRIDAY NIGHT: KICK OFF EVENT — …Shortly after I arrive, I was informed that the six teams we thought we were up against, simultaneously turn into 29 other teams!! Plus, producers’, Michael Keeney and Katherine Thompson, has a waiting list! Now that’s success in such a small city of less than a quarter a million. My question is… where the hell did these aspiring filmmakers come from and where have they been?!

Two genres, two characters, one prop, and one line later, we find ourselves at a local coffee shop, Collectivo, to start our brainstorming and the espresso inducing for the weekend.

Untitled2(I am not going to get into the rules and run around on how the 48 hour film project works, so just check it out on their 48 Hour Film web site to learn more of this event. Especially for those who might be interested in doing one next year.) *smiling*

After we went our separate ways for the evening, I dove right into the Killer Tracks website to set the tone of the short film. Our two choices of genre were Spy/Espionage and Suspense/Thriller. There is nothing more soothing than to swing through sounds surrounding those genres on a Friday, the 13th evening. The irony, if I am even using it properly.

Let’s be real here, I thought irony was that of which came from Alanis Morissette’s song, “Ironic” growing up like majority of our population in North America.

SATURDAY: SHOOTING/EDITING – Day two was committed to shooting and rough editing. There’s not much to say, except that I did not expect to be a main character in this short film. In an odd sense, my anxiety decided to take a vacation that day. Not sure if it’s cause I was in such a familiar setting, or what, but I was in some kind of zen during the shoot. I can’t really explain it, other than it just felt right that I was there in the moment.

(I must note that the chemistry between the cast and crew was pretty epic. We had our fun, but we also kept the mission at hand; to get the shoot complete so we could get the rough edit done before Sunday.)

We were done shooting right around 8-830ish that evening.  I was kind of daydreaming of being on NCIS, working late nights, ordering Chinese, while working to find other music to possibly use for the film. My mind goes to different places, to different scenes.

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Actress Katrina Fuchs as ‘Bitsy’

SUNDAY: EDITING/FINAL EDITS/SUBMIT – The final day was purely committed to editing, which I did not have a huge part in accept the title cards and the music choices.  However, we did get our film turned in on time to be premiered this past Thursday.

As for my followers and supporters who actually read my blog, here it is! The web premiere for our short film, “Surprise Party!” I must also let you all in on that a winner for hour 48 hour film project has not been announced yet. The rest of the films all were done real well and props to any of the filmmakers that may pass through this blog post. The networking and connections has just begun! I definitely have found my calling when it comes to film. I am just not sure if I will continue the acting sector of the industry. We will just have to wait and see.

(One last note before we watch the film. My character has no manners at a dinner table, swears, and smokes like a chimney. Like she grew up with no direction in life, because… well, find out when you watch the film! I, as a human being, only relates to the swearing trait of my character.. Fucking military.)*smiling*

Enjoy the film, y’all!

Q&A Feature: Patrick Barnitt

Patrick Barnitt is a very gifted and talented guy from the East Coast, who now resides in Los Angeles, California.

He plays “Jack Samms” in the Coffin franchise and I got to spend some time to ask him some epic questions about the artistry career he has flourished in in the past few decades.

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Photo Credit: IMDb

Now let’s take a moment and get to know who Patrick Barnitt is in Patrick’s world and what else he is wanting to accomplish in his career.

In seven words, who is Patrick Barnitt?

Patrick Barnitt: Crooner, actor, recovering Borg, and occasional rascal.

How long have you been working in the film industry? What are some of your experiences you’ve had during your years in the industry?

PB: I’ve been in the film industry since 1990. I’ve been lucky enough to make it onto the Star Ship enterprise, run around in the desert in the movie Se7en, and sing on a Fred Savage television show, just to name a few.

What has been the most memorable memory in your career?

PB: That’s a tough one. Here’s a few. Working with Danny Trejo on Chronology, going round for round with Bruce Davison in Coffin, and working with the late, legendary Dennis Hopper.

Do you consider yourself more of an artist, or just an actor in the film industry? In your own words, what defines someone to be more than just an actor in the industry?

PB: At the risk of sounding like a complete tool, I would consider myself more of an artist. *he says as he adjusts his beret, and slowly takes a drag of a clove cigarette*

It kind of covers it all. I spend time acting and also singing, performing. Depends on the day, the project, or the gig. At the end of the day, it’s all performing. It’s all storytelling. It’s all art.

I was introduced to you by the character of Jack Samms from the Coffin franchise. Can you tell the readers about your character in the films?

PB: Jack is a man caught in a trap. A man of wealth. A guy who seemingly has it all. A

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Patrick Barnitt as “Jack Samms” Photo Credit: IMDb

great career, a beautiful wife. Lots of dough. Security. A lot to lose. He’s achieved quite a bit in life at the expense of his marriage.

Things are crumbling. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Coffin isn’t your first project that you worked with Derik Wingo and Kipp Tribble. You have worked with them before on Derik’s film, The Waiters. Was that the first time you have ever worked with the two? How has your experience with the guys been over the years?

PB: I go way back with Derik Wingo and Kipp Tribble. I met direct on First Contact on the lot at Paramount years back. We went on to work together on The Waiters up in Portland. Good times.

You can hear me on the soundtrack. Kipp produced The Waiters, but we didn’t meet until a few years later. They’re quite a team. They can finish each other’s sentences. It’s pretty hilarious. We always have a blast. Four projects later. Incredibly talented and great guys.

Is Coffin the first project you’ve worked with actor Johnny Alonso on?

PB: Yes, I met Johnny on Coffin. Terrific guy. A real East Coast cat. When I met him I felt like I knew him for years. It was a real rush working with him on Coffin 1 and Coffin 2. He is a tremendous actor and a real Paisan! We spent a most of our time together in the first Coffin with night shoots, including driving around Los Angeles, and one crazy kitchen scene. Check it out!

Johnny’s a great singer and guitarist. We sang duet at the Dresden at the party for the premiere of first Coffin film. It was great fun.

Here’s a snippet of Johnny Alonso and Patrick Barnitt
in the bar scene in the first Coffin film.
Enjoy the sneak peak if you have not seen the film yet!

As artists, acting isn’t the only thing you and Johnny Alonso have in common. You both are also musicians. How long have you been singing? What got you into music?

PB: As long as I can remember, I’ve been singing and listening to music. Great FM rock radio of the 70s and 80’s. My brothers had an intense record collection. The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Cars, Elton John, Chicago, The Police, etc.

I was also surrounded by a lot great musicians as a kid. We formed a band. My grandfather was a great singer and played the ukulele, so he was a big influence on me. I started singing standards in college, and then I got hooked on Frank and Tony Bennett, Chet Baker, Nat Cole, etc.

Particularly, you are known as a ‘crooner.’ Can you explain that term to the readers who may not be familiar with music terms?

PB: The term ‘crooner’ suggests a singer who sings songs of the great ‘American Songbook’ standards. (The Great American Songbook, also known as “American Standards”, is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.)


Patrick’s music video for his Frank Sinatra cover,
“One for My Baby (and One More For The Road).”

What are your favorite genres to sing? What genres do you find yourself listening to?

PB: I love singing all genres. Especially Rock & Jazz. Recently, I’ve been singing more R&B. I’m currently working on a new record. I listen to everything from Jazz, to Rock, to Hip-Hop. Whatever suits my mood. 

What is on your bucket list for the film or music industry that you haven’t done yet in your career?

PB: As a far as a bucket list goes, I would love to do a Western, be in an Asian action film (I’m a big fan of Korean Action Films), play at the Hollywood Bowl, and work with David Fincher again.

Is there anyone in the industry that you haven’t worked with that you would love to work with?

PB: I would love to work with Spielberg.

If you aren’t acting or singing, what are you doing with your time?

PB: If I’m not working, I’m usually at the gym, playing basketball, traveling, people watching, or catching a new film. I also love live music, and I am a news junkie.

Do you have a ‘hidden’ talent that people are not aware of beyond your music and acting?

PB: I’m an excellent whistler. I’m also a Christopher Walken impersonator.

The closure of this interview: A simple, but fun questionnaire of this or that:

Pepsi or Coke? Pepsi
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Superheroes: DC or Marvel? DC
Music Genres: Hip-Hop or Country? Hip-Hop
Movie Genres: Documentary or Action? Action
Dinning out or dinning in? Dinning Out
Acting or singing? Today, it’s singing. (smiling).

Thank you, Patrick, for taking some time with me and allowing me to ask you some questions and to get to know you more beyond the Coffin franchise. I can’t wait to hang out with you and interview you again on the set of Coffin 3 soon enough (smiling).

Film Recommendation: Nocturne

*Caution: May Contain Spoilers! Read at Your Own Will*

Saul Pincus. Who is the guy? Well, if you have a deep admiration for the show La Femme Nikita you would know. But for those who simply don’t, Saul is one of many individuals from the production team I met last year in Toronto for the Reunion Convention celebrating 20 years of LFN. He is now a Toronto-based editor and co-wrote and directed this independent cinematographic gem, Nocturne.
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I finally got around to watching this film, not once, but twice. Yes, I said twice. The opening few scenes was a continuous puzzle for your curiosity. I found myself wondering through the first five minutes like, “What the fuck is going on?”

This sophisticated story needs your undivided attention through and through for you to know exactly what’s going on. Multi-tasking when you hit play is not a fucking option, because guarantee suddenly the climax will catch your eye and you will just stop what you are doing in the forefront.

Picture it: One minute I am working on my photo editing from one of my current projects and then…. …BAM! Duct tape, screaming, and the screech of the tires from the car hit you. From that instant you walk away, mid-edit, grab your Smart TV remote and stop the film as you think to yourself, “What the fuck just happened? I thought this film was about an insomnia and sleep-walker?” That’s when you go back to the menu and click on the option, ‘play from the beginning.’

I should have known better. All the independent films I have saw over the years from Canada has been anything, but disappointments. It’s what I strive for with my very own storytelling. As for those who love to study film beyond the story-telling, let me tell you…

…the cinematography is on point and was so up close and personal with the scenes and the actors throughout the film. The original story itself is authentic. Nothing I ever expected from a film before. I love that. The articulate transitions between the backstories and the original story, the animations were brilliant. At the end of it all, this film was a brilliant masterpiece. A one of it’s kind. I highly suggest anyone with a love for film to take 90 minutes, give or take, of their time to watch it.

Saul, by chance if you read this. I cannot wait for more of your projects to blossom. An amazing job in the directing and writing of this film. You’ve shown you’ve learned so much in the art of film with the trail you have left so far in your career. Bravo!

Cover Release & Synopsis of Fallen Angel

I have a lot of good stuff going on for me including the continuation of my Q&A segments, as well as, updating my website & blog site. Growing my network at ease by my continuous writing and reaching out. What’s most exciting in my life, this fall is my last semester for my second college degree, then it’s off to California!!

But, let’s focus on my short term goals this summer. I am getting closer and closer with my fourth book to be published which will extend beyond just my poetry and include a few short stories I have written in a three-part installment. I am currently in the final editing phase of this book.

This collection of poetry reveals a deeper root of my seventh sense of this world. More of my spiritual side connected with my passion for nature, love, and mythology. Am I taking a bold chance? Possibly. It’s worth it though. This is me. The rawest side of all my layers.

Here is a sneak peak of a few poems & the updated and final version of the book cover that will be featured on my next book:


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#EndTheStigma – But Will It Ever End?

Screenshot_20180609-142434~2I don’t apologize in advance if this is a long ass blog, fore things need to be said. Everybody is more focused on mental health when a public figure is found dead in their home or hotel room,  rather than when a veteran or regular civilian is taking their lives due to the lack of resources and education provided to help these individuals.

Even so, the pattern is the same. We all mourn for a week or so, and move on, while the families of these public figures continue to ask, “Why?” -OR- loved ones are stained in survivor’s guilt or guilt in general for not speaking up sooner about these individuals’ problems.

In the past week we have lost two more very successful figures, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain. In the past week, we’ve shared sadness as fans, but also ignorant opinions arise again for those who have passed:

“He/She had all the money in the world.”

“Why would he/she leave their families behind?”

“He/she seemed so happy, they had everything.”

etc..

etc..

When will we wake up to the fact that mental health is an actual plague? It doesn’t matter what skin color you are, what sexual orientation you prefer, what identity you go by, or probably the most segregated label, what class you fall in. Rich and poor are victims of mental health, but until we all come together about this issue, fight over who has it worse on this Earth, and end the stigma.

What bothers me more than my own personal battle with mental health, this society lacks compassion and understanding for one another. It’s selfish. That in itself, is truly depressing.

I may not have followed Kate Spade much, but Anthony Bourdain was and still a favorite of mine as a writer, traveler, and foodie. He’s the reason I became a huge fan of the Travel Channel and started with culinary first at the beginning of my blogging career. He is also one of my main inspires for traveling.

This past weekend, while I was reflecting on the news, these amazing artists also made me realize, it doesn’t matter what your passions are or what you do in this lifetime. When someone stoops so low that the only answer they see is suicide, are we even able to prevent it when most of us don’t even see it coming until it’s too late? My insight, it’s fucking scary. Especially for artists’ who are consumed or battle darkness daily.

Regardless of my revelations and questions in this blog post, I want to keep fighting and educating people on mental health. I’ve been down that road and I am pretty open about it. We all go through shit in life, but it’s how well we skill ourselves towards resilience and self-care. KNOW OUR LIMITS! KNOW OUR BOUNDARIES! KNOW OUR TRIGGERS! Most importantly, know that we are not alone in this world and that we are flares for change.

If you are feeling that low currently, I want to give you a reminder; a poem I wrote in 2011 for suicide awareness called, “Not The Answer”:

“Not The Answer” (Suicidal Awareness)

To the victims,
I wish I could show you,
The beautiful side of life,
You relentlessly walked away from.

To the silent ones,
I wish you would speak up for,
The ones suffering in strife,
Reach out to the ones feeling succumb.

Don’t just turn your heads,
It could be your own kid!
Don’t be afraid to tread,
Don’t fear the worst, hope for the best.

How can I convince you?
The ones that try to run your life,
Are not your master.

How can I convince you?
That suicide is not the only escape route,
It’s really not the answer.

There shouldn’t be secrecy,
If you need help,
Find the courage to ask.

Let this poem
be your mercy.
When you’re overwhelmed,
And remove the mask.

My friends call me brave
Very few have seen
where I’ve been,
Compared to where I am now.

My main motivation,
Is my own ambition, my own talents,
So you can show the world
your own endowments.

How can I convince you?
The ones that try to run your life,
Are not your master.

How can I convince you?
That suicide is not the only escape route,
It’s really not the answer.

This poem isn’t just directed,
To those bullied in high school,
~Or~ those who dare to be different.

I also want to make a special shout out,
To the combat veterans who struggle with PTSD,
Traumatic brain injury, or depressed
for missing a limb or a few.

I’m not trying to make it all about me,
But my whole life is far from a fantasy,
Most the things I’ve listed,
I’ve been through.

I pray you see my stories as inspirations,
To find the desire and affections,
survive Lucifer’s fire.
How can I convince you?

So, how can I relate? Why did I write this poem back in the day? As an advocate for PTSD/MST, I am not afraid to share my shit. Some people fear my story, others are inspired. My name is Heather Marie and I have chronic post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit disorder. I take Zoloft & Ritalin every day and it’s sometimes a challenge to balance the two medications. Even though I first experienced trauma at the age of four and struggled years on end with school and home, as well as, deployed to Iraq at 20 years old, I was not diagnosed until the age of 23.

The past nine years was a roller coaster, but it is starting to smooth out with the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years and the boundaries I’ve set for most people and the triggers in my life. Writing has been my main outlet with years of oppressed memories and emotions. I still have my bad days when therapy gets intense with washed up memories coming back to the forefront. I also lean on music and film to distress my symptoms and express myself. I don’t drink anymore due to my past of carelessness with alcohol and medication abuse in the past. I know what my triggers are, so I avoid them to the best of my ability. I also have alternative therapies that assist me medically.

I know I’m here for a purpose. That keeps me moving forward, never backwards. I hope we don’t just toss this subject aside until the next public figure decides it’s the only answer to escape the pain in this world. We need to end the stigma for ALL who suffer or strive with mental health.