Thirty-Six Frames (The Attic)

I sat for a while, playing along with the pictures I lined up on screen. In terms of process, the sound didn’t inform the frames and the frames didn’t inform the sound.

I’d be lying if I said there was planning – I’d be hit with an idea and then attack it immediately, out of fear that it’d get lost with everything else.

I live near death. His condition worsens everyday. I just know it isn’t good for me to be around it all the time. “It’s” been very bad lately.

That “It” is built up by the feeling of a lack of agency. No matter the professional, the combination of chemicals, or the growth cycles, “it” simply does not leave. So it’s shifted just out of sight, but never fully disappeared.

 

Here’s the link to my project, I hope you enjoy:

Thirty-Six Frames (The Attic)

 

Written by Devon Canal
March 30th, 2020

On Full Moons and Falling Back in Love

This spring break, the last one of my undergraduate career, was my first true mental break in over a year. Last spring break was heavy with the world shutting down and an awful sinus infection finding a way to destroy the last bit of emotional stability that I had, summer brought a social uprising and taking four summer classes (you know the ones when they push twelve-weeks of curriculum into much less? Yeah, those). Fall threw me, I felt like myself again, but I found myself writing my first feature film and getting very oddly specific recommendations when my algorithms took my writing research as a serious interest in the history of one particular mental institution in Dallas. I even spent my winter break working on that same script, tirelessly trying to meet a writing deadline while teaching myself more and more about character development, motivations, and hounding myself about walking the fine line of staying true to the story and trying to not let any of my internalized socialization too heavily impact the way the script turns. Finally, this spring break, I got the chance to breathe. But, I got caught up in my own habits.

There’s this thing about loving to write. Sometimes an emptiness will creep up, and it’s only then that you’re reminded that you have to purge words in order to feel like yourself. It is so much a part of me, that during the first moments of freedom in a long while, I found myself at 2 am curled up in bed, surrounded by spiral notebooks and old, scattered notes, starting a new script under the light of reruns of The Nanny.

It’s not like I ever fell out of love with writing. I’ve thrown myself into it since my fifth-grade teacher did a unit on poetry and we spent days flipping through the thesauruses and dictionaries. Of course, growing up changes things. There are essays that we’d rather not write, annotated bibliographies in classes that we’ll forget we took. All of it compiled, chasing the next stroke of brilliance can force you into an unintended mundane.

This time, the pacing changed. Especially in comparison to the work produced from the long year that seemed to have no end, the beauty of potential in new characters, new destinies, new wants, and needs was exciting, not rushed, not stressed. This is what I see as the Honeymoon period. It’s flirtatious, it’s boundless. (It isn’t my absolute favorite phase of writing, I’m a Capricorn Venus. If you know, you know.) But working on this new project, a drama about the inevitability of family ties and repeating generational mistakes, as well as doing edits on the short (that my highly neurotic self surprisingly wrote in two days), Beauty Will Save the World, have put me into the mindset of aligning my energy with that of the impending full moon.

The full moon in Libra this Sunday can mean a lot of things depending on anyone’s natal chart placements, but overall, Libra is a fascinating sign for creatives to come into contact with. Its ruler of the planet Venus, Aphrodite for Greek Mythology stans, is simply beautiful, charming, loveable, and open to the potential of romance. On its other side, is indecision, vanity, and melodrama. I know I can’t be the only person who finds myself embodying those traits to some extent. But there is justice for us creatives. It’s all about fair decisions. The symbol is literally a balanced scale.

This is all to say that this weekend, I have a challenge for you. Fall back in love with creating. Remind yourself of the details, in the way you’d remember the face of a lover, bit by bit. Make a list. Jot down your favorite words. Draw something. Paint something. Go reread your favorite poetry. Play.

I’m adding my full moon playlist if you want something to listen to as you stare at the moon this weekend, just as I’ll be doing. If we unknowingly do it at the same time, it’s kind of romantic.

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/full-moon/pl.u-4JomGllCJjA4JR

 

What IF

I don’t know who knows this story. But last Saturday (3/19/2021) , me and two other friends – Suri and Johnny, were having lunch and having a good time at the Food Court in Galleria Mall.
We just thought that having fun and enjoying going to the stores was just like a regular weekend.

While we were eating and chatting, gossiping. Suri sat in front of me and she saw a lot of people running down from the balcony, all over places to the exits. She was telling us “What the heck is happening?”I looked back and saw like “OMFG are we having a terrorism or active shooting, or even bombing in the mall right now?!”. Suri said, Shit! RUNNNN!! RUNNN!”. We started to run immediately and left the food there without hesitations.

I ran first and led the way for my friends but while I ran I looked back to check my friends with me or not. Unfortunately, actually Suri and I lost Johnny in the crown. We were very panicked and waited for a bit. However, everyone was trying to run out of the mall as soon as possible with their friends and family. It was a chaos, people stepped on people and tried to get out of there. Suri and I didn’t have a chance to see Johnny, and we told each other to just run out the doors first to hide and wait.

We hid behind the cars but still scared that what if it was a bombing, the whole building would be collapsed. We waited for like 5 minutes but had not seen Johnny walk out. Suri was suffocated, shaking and crying. I was so scared that she would faint at the same time and still looked for Johnny. We tried to call him, but there was no service, still keep calling him until he picks the phone. Like 5 more minutes later, he picked the phone and said he was on the other side of us. We got him, and we ran out of the building.

Maybe some people think this was just a false alarm about shooting or bombing and laugh. But put yourself in our situation you would feel how we felt. There was a family trying to hide. His son (about 10 year olds) was numb and frozen; his wife was shaking and panicking. I dont even want to think if that was an active shooting or bombing. I have never ever faced with this terrible scenario and never wish to be in that again!. 

Thus, now I can tell how unlucky people feel when they have to face these horrible scenarios. Luckily, it was not an active shooting or bombing. Everyone safe!

Here is the link that someone recorded:

https://twitter.com/TheInsiderPaper/status/1373398028523077642?s=20

Confession

Me again.

Not sure if any of you know, but I am a double major both at Valenti and at Bauer. I didn’t plan for it to be like this. I planned to be reciting scripts on stage and learning how to express emotion in so many ways in a single performance. Ever since I was little I wanted to be an actress and win an Oscar. Originally in high school, I was a huge theater kid before I joined film class late in the game my Junior year.

I grew up in a very traditional household. Meaning that, if you are hispanic, art as a career is pretty much a no go. As a Senior in high school I was so close to auditioning at UH to be in the theater school. But you know… stuff happened and I had to be redirected in order to appease those around me. I knew I could film and somewhat direct/ produce, but I only have self taught experience under my belt. I entered UH as an Integrated Comm major, desperate to find my niche. I wanted to be in Media Production, but also felt like I was nowhere near the talents current students have (I still feel this way). I am so harsh on my work that I don’t ever want anyone seeing it. I had a film screened at a festival and I nearly bursted into tears at the fact that I had to sit and watch the horror with an audience.

“I could always do better.” is my biggest enemy in my head.

I soon declared business as a major to go in hand with media, because, if I wasn’t good at making film, I can at least learn other ropes and help market it. I know I have a creative eye, but it’s not good enough.

And no this is not a “woe is me tell me my stuff is good.” these are very much personal thoughts and insecurities that run through my head anytime I open up FinalCut. I want to be confident in my work and confident that I can direct and hold a camera without being afraid. Sometimes I wish I can fully dive into something creatively without thinking of the inner criticism or that I look like I don’t know what I’m doing. I hold back, I know I do. Theres so many photoshoots and videos I want to do that’s all in my noggin but I’m too scared to do it.

So here we are. A little insecure and a little unsure of a lot of things. I tend to sit back and watch you amazing humans work just because I’m a visual learner.

Anywoo… I hope to grow out of this and dive in, because being stuck in a 9-5 cubicle is something I was not born to do.

Shopping.

So….

I was at the Galleria this past Saturday. Yeah, *that* Saturday. In case you did not hear the buzz on Twitter, there was a presumed active shooter at the mall.

Here I am thinking this is one of the most iconic days of my life, buying my graduation shoes and trying on an expensive pair we have been saving up for since I was a freshman. I walk out of the store holding onto my bag like a madwoman, and my family and I proceed to go down an escalator. Now, as we are going down, we see a mob of people running towards us. At first I see them laughing and smiling, so here I am thinking someone was doing a Grab N Go. But soon those smiles turned to screams and I see more and more people running towards us.

Next thing I knew my sister pulled me off the escalator and we ran to a designer store that was trying to close its doors on people running in. I lost sight of my mom, and we soon had to yell for her to follow our voices. Everyone got in and my sister and I were shaking from what could easily be an active shooter causing all of the commotion. I saw her say goodbye to a friend on her phone. In that moment my body went cold and suddenly it occurred to me that there’s a huge chance we may not make it out. I took out my phone and immediately told my boyfriend I loved him.

We sat there hiding for god knows how long and soon things were normal. We booked it to our car and checked the news to see what was happening. False alarm. Goes to show just how quick we as American citizens jumped to a horrid conclusion like that.

Though it was a false alarm, it really felt like I was trapped. Here I am, a college girl about to graduate soon and getting her shoes, feeling so happy and ready for the world; and then there’s a life threatening scenario right in front of me. Aside from a car accident, that was the most in danger I have been in, and I thank God it wasn’t real.

 

I went home and hugged my dog a little tight.

After the Fall

During the spring break, we shot After the Fall, a short film directed by Michael Grossman. It was a unique opportunity to see Michael interact with both the cast and crew. Especially to see in person how he does the blocking with the actors and the placement of the cameras. For the short film I was key grip, and let me tell you I learned a lot over the week of shooting. It was refreshing to work with a crew that no one had an ego and was willing to put in the work. Special shoutout to Stalin Santiago and David Rubio who were DP and Gafer for the film, they were the ones I communicated the most while working. Here’s a teaser for After the Fall – 4381 Productions

 

 

 

 

Song recommendation for the week: La Santa Cecilia – Como Dios Manda

Vacation to Mystic Falls (Covington, GA)

When I was 18 and my sister was 14 we wanted to go to New York for Spring Break; just the two of us. My parents said absolutely not and at the time of course we complained because I said I was “an adult” and could handle going out of state on a trip without them. Thinking back now, I’m glad they were not those parents that would have made that a “learn the hard way” kind of situation. We definitely would have ended up in China or been kidnapped.

Now, being 23 and my sister 19, our parents let us go on a trip. It wasn’t as far away as New York, but they were still checking in on us while we were away. That being said, they let us go, so that’s all that mattered. We only went for 2 nights, because we had one purpose for going there. This was to visit all the locations of where our favorite tv show was filmed, The Vampire Diaries. My parents did not understand the point of flying somewhere to take a picture on a bridge or in a field of grass was, but they didn’t question it.

I thought it was a waste of money to rent a car, but after adding up how much I spent on uber rides, I should have gone with the car. We flew into Atlanta, but stayed in Covington, which was a 40 minute ride from the airport. Once we got to the hotel we wanted to nap, because out flight was at 7am, so we had to leave our house at 4:30. However, as tired as we were, we did not have much time, so we had to make the most of our visit. We also packed summer outfits, such as shorts, sleeveless shirts and did not account for the fact that the weather said it would be 45 both days we were there and raining. That’s what a spontaneous, last minute, unplanned vacation is all about though, right? Not looking at things like that..? Anyways, we had a good time despite all the mishaps; that is what I feel makes a vacation fun to look back on.

Some things I learned in Georgia:

  1. People are way nicer about pedestrians. I actually started to take a little bit of advantage of their niceness, until my sister told me not to or we would get ran over. A car would be going a full 60 mph and see us waiting to cross and come to a stop, no stop sign, and wave for us to run across. Even if there was a stop sign, it was always a “you go ahead!”. Which I believe is super nice, because whether it is your turn or not in Houston, good luck not getting flattened.
  2. Next, their stop signs are embedded into the concrete, like actually on the road. I’m not sure if this is to ensure people do not miss a stop sign or what, but I found it effective and it seemed like a good idea.
  3. The cars only have liscense plates on the back. I do not know the reasoning for this either, but when our Ubers would come I would always have to go around to the back to check that it was the right car.
  4. There are NO bugs outside. I mean there probably are, but I did not see one. Not near the flowers, not near me, not buzzing around while people were eating outside. I’m not sure if the cold and rain drove them all away, but I found it nice to not have mosquitos or bees around me when walking around or eating food.
  5. There is a difference between Texas southern people and Georgia southern people. This is probably a given, but I can tell the difference between when I say I live in the south and then if someone in Georgia says they live in the south. The Georgia southern style is very old fashioned, with beautiful antebellum plantation homes. I also see the difference in Georgia southern accents versus a Texas southern accent.
  6. Also, everyone seemed to be very kind. I heard this is also relevant to Canadian people, so someone back me up if you have been there. No one was in a rush and it had this quiet sound to the area, maybe because we were in a small town, but it was peaceful to walk around. One lady was walking her dog in the neighborhood when we were taking photos and she said hello to my sister and I and asked how we were. It was not the “hello, how are you” though where you say it but keep walking in the opposite direction because you either don’t really care about their answer or don’t have time to go in depth so you just answer with, “good”. It was more of a genuine how are you and she stopped and we talked for a good 45 seconds and continued on our way.

Continuing about the trip, this was the most I’ve walked around outside since last year. Which sounds depressing, and my excuse would be “I’m busy with work and school”, which is lame, but also covid really put me in a bad spot and I did not have the energy to get out of my house. Even though everything was shut down, walking around, such as in your neighborhood, was one of the few things you could social distantly do. I did not do that though and I think this is the first time I have spent more than 10 minutes outside and not because I was going to my car or getting the mail.

I always think it is fun when you go on a trip for a reason, but then you end up getting more out of it for other reasons. While it was cool to go to the film locations, I also enjoyed walking around for 8 hours outside and enjoying the trees, the rain, flowers, people, and fresh air. It all comes back to what you forget about when you get too caught up in your daily activities. Sometimes I wish I had more time to enjoy simple things in life, but I probably just need to make more time in my life for it. I make time for everything else that I need to get done, so if something is important enough to you, make time for it in your life; whether that be a person or an activity.

Lastly, below are some photos that I made side by sides of, for those not familiar with the show, to show why we took a picture in front of a bridge or in a grassy field. Which the best part of this was, calling an uber to drive us during a rainstorm to a field of grass and him watching us set our phone against a tree while we posed looking out at the highway. Or when another uber driver took us to the bridge which is now a popular bypass apparently and not a random bridge in the middle of no where, like it was 12 years ago in the show, and us running in between herds of cars to take a photo on it. Good times.

 

My one other favorite thing was one of the shirts I’m wearing is one that a character wore in the show. It’s like when a tv show first releases and everyone is obsessed with the actors/actresses and what they wear or like because you just like their character.. that was me. Therefore, I had looked for some of the clothes, but I started watching the show back in 2016, (the show went from 2009-2017) so the clothes were pretty outdated and not sold anymore, but one girl was selling hers online and I was able to buy it.

 

                                                   

John Hinkle’s Masterclass

I am now pretty much done with my role as a Set Decorator. It was an unforgettable experience especially when you have a veteran by the name of John Hinkle come in and show you a mini blueprint of how things are done. Quick background of John Hinkle, he is a professional set painter. However, he has done so many more roles such as make-up artist, he has been a stand-by painter, and he even was a PA at one point. He has worked on films from L.A. Confidential to Princess Diaries and even Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson. His portfolio is everyone’s dream because has worked on some very notable films. Mr. Hinkle came to our set several times to show us different tricks including texturing and how to age wood. It became a whole art masterclass and I had a great time. These are a couple of photos of some things we created with Mr. Hinkle.