Don’t Give Up

Yesterday, I published an essay on Medium about the creative process of making my short film, Torn-Between. It’s been 5 years since I published it on YouTube. What a crazy 5 years it’s been. It’s surreal to look back on now. In a way, I am amazed I was able to make it. Honestly, there are times I forget I made a short film. Because it seems like such a long time ago and so much has happened since then. But little things pop up that remind me of it. Like a few months ago, someone who I am casually friends with on Facebook came up to me and said how much they liked it. Totally random and unexpected.

I never thought I would make a short film. I dreamed of making it for over a year before I shot it. But there were moments during the editing process where I didn’t think the film would be seen by anyone. A lot of work goes into editing anything and I was busy with school and work at the time. I had shot it in Maine in the summer then sort of forgot about it when I went back to class in the fall. It wasn’t until early December that I realized I needed to finish it over winter break or I would never finish it.

The usual doubts of worry and fear came dribbling in as I began editing the film. What if people won’t like it? What if no one sees it? What if my message isn’t clear? What if the odd style of the film turns people away? It’s a story about a nameless character told through her writings and internal monologues. It has no dialogue, only one character, no action, not much of anything. It’s about an internal life rather than the external lives we’re used to seeing onscreen.

My doubts soon became overshadowed by wanting to see my dream become a reality. And if nothing else, at least the people who worked with me on it, especially my dad and Aunt Liz, could see their efforts brought to fruition. I am proud of my younger self for not giving up where there were many moments when I almost did.

While this film is a work of fiction, with some bits of my own journey in there, this film very much captures a personal thing in my own life. It was filmed at my grandmother’s house in Maine. It’s a house I would visit every summer for most of my life. It was a very significant part of my childhood. This house is no longer in our family. While that’s very bittersweet, I am forever grateful I was able to capture parts of it in this film. Like my mother’s childhood bedroom or all my grandmother’s china in the dining room. Little details I will always have because of this film.

After I posted this short film, I remember having a conversation with someone I knew casually about it. She had watched the film and really liked it. We were talking about the boxes we are put into as a society, as people, as women. She made a point that my film challenges the boxes. Choosing to stray from the status quo when it comes to relationships, careers, all the things the character in my film grapples with.

I remember at the end of our conversation her saying, “there shouldn’t be one expected way of doing things. And people shouldn’t be seen as less than for choosing a different path.” That’s what I wanted people to think about with my film. Don’t put yourself in a box you don’t fit in. Be whoever you want to be.

Happy New Year!

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