Why I Do What I Do

It’s Mother’s Day and I want to tell you something I tell very few. I do all the things you see me do publicly (books, films etc) because I’m a mom.

When my oldest was born I promised her that she could be anything she wanted in this world. If she came to me at age 15 and said she wanted to be a magician I wanted to have the courage and the knowledge to say “yes, let’s learn what we need to learn to have you be the best magician you can be and make a living at it.” But I knew I could only do this if I truly gave it everything at my dream and showed them that it was worth fighting for.

Since a young age I wanted to work in film. I thought of it as the Wonderful World of OZ. I wanted to live behind the curtain where men pulled the strings. At the time I had my first daughter, I wasn’t persuing my dream of working in film. I was a stay at home and I was determined to be the best stay at home mom I could be – but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel whole.

Then I made a deal with my husband. I would stay at home with our children (I have two girls now) and pursue my creative dreams of writing and filmmaking. If by the time they were both in school full time and I was not making money, I would return to the standard workforce.

Over the last 7 years I have tried my hardest to balance my company, Karmic Courage Productions, and my family life. It’s a hard balance but I’ve been able to manage. In that time I’ve published 2 books (The Belief Test, The Celebration Diet), 13 short film projects, and worked on over 30 freelance film projects. None of it I can make a steady living on. The work is risky, I’ve been attached to more projects that get cancelled due to fundraising than I’ve actually worked on.

It’s now coming up on the eve of both of the girls being in full time school. I have till Fall 2013 to hope for a miracle or get ready to say goodbye.

I knew that if I looked back 50 years from now I’d regret never making a feature film. So this summer, which maybe the last big project I get to do, I’m making Ingenue. It’s a film I’ll be able to show my daughters when they ask again, “What did you want to be when you grow up?” I’ll be able to say whether I am currently working in a office cubical or flippin’ burgers that I tried, I gave it everything I had and it was worth fighting for. Fighting for your dreams is always worth it.

Odds are filmmaking and writing will never truly leave me, regardless of what happens this year.  I’m sure I’ll find weekends to make something small and fun but it won’t be a career. I’d be trading in the idea of making indie feature films for earning my kids college money. And I’m okay with that because when it comes down to it, I’m a mom.

But I’m not giving up without one hell of a fight. I’m going to put my heart and soul into Ingenue this summer. I’m so excited about this project, it’s themes and story fuel me. It’s the story that’s been hiding in me since I started this journey. It’s the cornerstone of everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve fought for. It’s the perfect piece to see if I can make some kind of money in this crazy film business.

Please, if you’ve dug my work. If you like what I’ve stood for: compassion, human rights, family and strong female characters, please continue to support me. Like Ingenue’s page on facebook, donate to our campaign (ends May 22), see my films, buy the DVD’s, or write me a note.

Win, lose or draw it’s going to be an awesome year. Because of you, my kids and my family I’ve gotten this far and I truly appreciate every moment of it.

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5 thoughts on “Why I Do What I Do

  1. bretorious says:

    Awesome and inspiring. I’m thrilled that you are chasing down your dreams and beating them into submission–I believe in your abilities, and your indomitable spirit. And I understand your urgency. Like you, I’m working hard in a limited time span to forge a career from my dreams. (Photographer, writer, filmmaker, and musician.) I am now 14 months into a 24 month “leave of absence” from the working world that took 16 years of hard work to earn. With my wonderful wife’s support, I am having the time of my life, and working with you has been unforgettable.

    Whatever happens in the future, remember this–you’re already a writer and a filmmaker, and your damned good at it. Nobody can take that away from you.

  2. Kate Chaplin says:

    Good news. In doing my taxes I’ve learned I made in 2011 the amount my husband and I agreed on to stay in filmmaking. Most of 2011 I still had a little one at home so next year is looking bright! I have earned another two years at filmmaking so far 🙂

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