Above is a picture of Bree Newsome, fellow filmmaker and NYU alum, after she had bravely and boldly taken down the Confederate Flag from over the state capitol of South Carolina. Bree is an activist who found the stride of her purpose after the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. She began organizing marches, documenting them the best way she knew how, and leading a vocal charge on social media. Today she will be immortalized as the woman of color with enough gall to scale the state capitol pole and commit a crime for the good of our nation’s soul. She is a pest to bigotry. She is a hero to the countless U.S. citizens that opposed one of the most common symbols of oppression the United States knows. I applauded her efforts after awakening to her triumphant news this morning.
Seeing this image mean’t so much to me because I decided to reclaim my day. I have been working as a producer on a feature film set here in Chicago for the past 6 months. This was not a film that I collaborated on, rather I was hired to assist with the organization efforts. We were initially scheduled to begin production at the end of May. As most independent films experience, financial matters pushed the production dates. I won’t go into detail about the production on this blog but I slowly realized that I came to Chicago for a specific reason. That reason was to save funds for a transition to Los Angeles. While doing so, I was to be creatively prolific in whatever medium was viable, whether that mean’t acting, doing improv training, or directing another short. Then I got involved with this project for a chance to be a lead producer on a feature film and for the extra money. It seemed like a great idea. Unfortunately, I found myself wrapped up in somebody else’s vision. I had my own thoughts and concerns about the project which were forwarded. Little heed was paid to my ideas which was unfortunate but I believed the project would go on to fruition. And it may still do so but without me on board. I had reached a point where I felt like a driver for hire. Traversing whatever routes were determined by the higher powers regardless of the best financial decisions and my respect for the form of filmmaking. I felt there was a slight disdain for the process of those that have studied the art of making films at the collegiate level. That’s nothing new. There’s always this tension between film schoolers and those that have learned through natural progression. It is what it is.
But most of all, I felt that there was little regard for time. That was the issue that ultimately broke the camel’s back. Time is so precious and as I approach my 30th year on this Earth, time has become even more valuable. When I looked at the day and how I spent every hour, very little time was going to my personal development. Especially since I was attempting to mold guerilla level filmmaking into something that it is not. I wasn’t learning. I wasn’t growing. Unless one considers growing frustrated as a part of personal growth. The project was not a bad project. The project simply was not a fit for me. On this day of reclaiming my life, the largest lesson I have to look upon is that I must be much more cautious about handing over my time. That’s a great lesson to learn. Now I will be a much firmer person. And I will be much more divested in myself. And much more divested in what I truly believe in.
Amen to that. And amen to Bree Newsome!