So, it’s been a while. In fact, it’s been so long, I’m not sure I remember how to do this.
Some of you have reached out to me and asked what’s going on. Is Rebel Heart Film still a thing? Because Chris and I haven’t taught a workshop in many months or even planned one. I haven’t written any blogs, have rarely posted on our Facebook page, tweeted more about politics than films. For the last six months, I’ve more or less disappeared from the Rebel Heart world.I hadn’t planned it. And I can’t totally explain it, though I’m going to attempt to.
Not long after moving to Denver, I became very ill. It was a shocker, because I’m generally physically very robust, and illness is not something I’m familiar with. But after ten days of fever (yes, TEN) and what the hospital, after a myriad of tests, diagnosed as an “unidentified virus”, I was exhausted. I almost feel that it was the exhaustion of ten years in LA hustling, working, endlessly creating that finally caught up with me. And after the fever left, I just stopped working.
For a while, I did try to discipline myself (and normally I’m pretty good at that, getting up at 4:30 in the morning to pack in a few pages before life with a toddler takes over), but it was like fighting a wave that I couldn’t force. So I just let go.
I stopped trying to work. I gave myself a pass. Let it all go. Just for this summer, let it go. Concentrate on being with your son, making your new house a home, planting seeds and tending the garden. And that’s what I did for a good five months.
Then at the end of August, my four year old son started school, and with the new hours I’ve found myself with, I’ve got back to work. Finished a rewrite of a script that plagued me for months in a week, and just last week finished a completely new script (based on a novel). I have a new energy and clarity in my writing and I feel inspired.
I’m also finally finishing OF DUST AND BONES, the feature I shot last summer and beginning to plan its release next year.
And…yes, planning a new REBEL HEART FILM workshop for January in Denver (dates will be confirmed VERY soon!). I’m also going to be teaching a screenwriting course at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop starting in January. And before then: Chris and I will be giving a mini-workshop at the Denver Film Festival in November. If you are here, please come and join us!
I’ve never before taken a career break (nope, not even when I gave birth to my son, I kept writing all the time and pitched the idea for what became my second film just three months after he was born). And I certainly didn’t plan to take one when I moved here. In fact, quite the opposite: I envisioned myself working harder than ever after our move. But sometimes life has different plans for you.
I remember once reading an interview with Darren Aronofsky where he said each film takes so much out of him. I sometimes wonder about the gaps directors have between films and why they are so long. Sure, often it’s because they are trying to get stuff off the ground and the stuff won’t fly, for whatever reason. But also I suspect that sometimes people just need to replenish. They need to feed the well, step back from the obsessive craziness that filmmaking demands and just have some fun, be with their families and connect deeply with the world around them. And recover! Recover emotionally, physically, spiritually from the pains we inevitably go through making and releasing films (whoever thinks filmmaking is easy, sit down now: you’ve obviously never done it).
I do apologize to the rebels who have perhaps felt abandoned – but then again, the way our alums are creating and making films and web series and everything like mad, I doubt it. So thrilled to receive your news…I want to share an update on the alums of the Rebel Heart Film program very soon, so please send me an email with your latest.
But most of all, coming out of this hibernation, I’m looking forward to connecting again with our inspiring, badass community. The community of filmmakers who make shit happen no matter what. As always, I want to help you get your films made, get them made well and get them out there, and to strengthen our alternative indie film community with everything I’ve got.
An unintended sabbatical was nice, but getting back to work is even better.
It’s good to be back.