grace carter films
VINYL 2

The amount of cash I have expended on this new hobby is maybe even a little rash. But I don't care. New additions include a righteous copy of "The Woods" by Sleater-Kinney, My Bloody Valentine, "Doolittle" The Pixies, Blondie, The Pretenders... and the list continues.

I was thinking the other day about how a record collection says so much about a person. I was surprised to find Carole King in my Dad's collection. I wonder if it was my Step Mom's record...

My Mom's collection, alas, is gone. It was not among her possessions when she died in 2004.

For sure, I think, I have been clinging to childhood memories through my records. I've been piecing Mom's collection back together from memory. America, Karla Bonoff, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Joy of Cooking. Listening to vinyl reminds me of my Mom a lot, which I like.

My son Calvin has taken to vinyl with a vengeance. He shuns our CD player/boom box. His favorite band is "Devo" and now he is a collector as well.

In fact, New Years Eve was spent listening to "The Who" and "Devo" and talking about music with Calvin. It is the best New Year I've had in a long long time.
VINYL

Several conversations with musicians, as of late, have turned to vinyl and its superior listening enjoyment as compared to CD. The conversation usually touches on how social interaction with recorded music has changed drastically and how it is directly related to the medium of the sound. Gone, it seems, are the days of lounging around the record player; talking of important things, flipping through albums. The music demanded a kind of attentiveness that fostered a certain kind of social interaction.

I started collecting vinyl when I was in the 3rd grade. It happened much the same as it has happened to me as an adult. It started with one record. The Beatles. My cousin came over with her stack of 45s and proceeded to school me on the virtues of the fab four. I became obsessed with the Beatles. From then on, Mom would find me flipping through vinyl wherever our second hand travels took us. Mom loved yard sales, thrift shops, swap meets and all things pleasantly used. My collection grew. I knew an original pressing from a re-release. I started sleeping in the living room so I could listen to “Rubber Soul” as I drifted to sleep. I would wake in the middle of the night to the soft crackle and skip at the end of side one.

During a summer visit with my Dad, I asked him if I could have his Abbey Road record. I begged and begged him for that record. No Go. Kind of like when I begged him for the 1934 Ford pick up at the age of 16. I was dumbfounded.

When my father died in 2000, I inherited both the truck and his small vinyl collection. Unable to bear dealing with his possessions but also not willing to part with them, his vinyl collection sat in my office collecting dust. Then, a miraculous event happened - my son’s birthday. For his 12th, Calvin got The Ramones “Rocket to Russia” – ON VINYL.

It was time to teach a new generation the wonders of vinyl, someone who had NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE. The thought was a giddy one and it drove me to spend a good part of Saturday at “Fred’s Sound of Music” looking at turntables.

Just as my love for vinyl started with that one event in my youth, it took a similar event to push me back into my vinyl collecting ways. Not surprisingly, it was a film about music that was partially responsible for my Saturday turntable excursion. This Film.

CONTROL

Just as I had become obsessed about The Beatles in the 3rd grade, I have become obsessed about Joy Division. Ask my Son. Sure, I've always admired and enjoyed them, but this film made me realize that I had to have everything they had recorded on vinyl.

(To be continued)
BRAIN CHEMISTRY

I have come to appreciate and perhaps even marvel at the things my psyche does on its own accord. The feelings that preceed the noise and static… cross communications between synapses. I often feel compelled to express how it feels to be in these sorts of states. The manic state, the depressive state, the panic state. Or, how it feels to be in all these states at once (my personal favorite). It is a very delicate and individual thing to go through this sort of process. I find that I am drawn to characters and films where there are people struggling with real brokenness. I find beauty and hope in witnessing humans struggle against the odds of themselves, that there is peace and hope even in the hardest struggles.

I watched "Prozac Nation" the other night... and while the movie was not that excellent, it reminded me of how brilliant the book was. Ms. Wurtzel has an excellent command of language and how to manipulate pace, rhythm and word choice to convey psychological states. I very much admire her for her ability to illustrate and express what it feels like to be in this sort of distress. I also think she is very brave for exposing herself so completely in that form, as it is still a subject or idea that many people want to hide.

The next piece I am interested in writing deals with a young woman’s first struggles with depression and anxiety. I continue to strive for the best way to communicate this state of mind in word, action and cinematic language. My goal is to actively depict and submerge the viewer in the feelings and space that people with psychological maladies live with every day. Though “falling” into these states is heavy and painful, the clarity and beauty that one perceives simultaneously is simply stunning. It's like experiencing all the hope and peace that is attainable in the natural world while crying for it.
CLARITY

The world is a sad and beautiful place.

I was sitting at an indoor pool today, my back against the wall, looking at the tile patterns and examining the way the yellow volley balls looked stacked in their nets and I got that feeling. It just so happened Pat Benetar was singing on my i-pod, as well, so that may have had something to do with it. "We Belong" really crushes me every time. I know, a little cheesy, but it really does get me.

So I was sitting there and I thought, "it really would be silly to sit here by the side of the pool and cry in front of these people I don't know very well." And the thought of that made it go away.

I would like to write a scene, or perhaps a whole movie, that is about how beautiful and sad the world is. Most of the time when I think about making the next film, I think about whether my Mom would like it. My Mom loved beauty. She was a great appreciator of beauty and tiny moments. She loved life so fully.

Post for the new "Mattress" video is about finished. I will get some stills up on the site here very shortly.

The shoot went very well and Rex (a.k.a. "Mattress") was really fun to work with. You should check out his site - Mattress

Holly Andres, my very talented friend and collaborator, captured excellent imagery. We were in Central Oregon for about 3 days getting stunning footage. I am very fortunate and proud to have such opportunities as these to create.

An excerpt of "Nora" is coming soon... I promise!

I am gearing up to write a feature. I have a couple of short stories that I am interested in adapting. It's hard to decide which to pursue, but I think I've about decided. It has a lot to do with what my Mom would like.
I SHOULD WRITE SOMETHING HERE

Blogs are weird. Is anyone reading this?

I had an enlightening conversation with a friend the other day about blogs. He expressed concern that his life/writing wasn't interesting enough for a blog, that people expect something entertaining from a blog which seems to be mostly an online diary of your life.

Here's where I've been getting my solace lately.

cocorosie

Or pining for when i was six and this was my favorite show.

electric company

"Nora" premiered at the PDX Fest in April. I'll be getting a clip up very soon on the site...

PERCEPTIONS

This is a concept that has been occupying my thoughts lately. Perhaps it is because it is so easy for me to shift into another perception. Reality can seem like illusion to me, illusion reality. I am fascinated with that feeling, that feeling when I can look at a room or a space and think... this is all in my mind. This is not real.

And then I start to feel a bit freaked out by that idea.

Luckily it usually doesn't last that long and it makes for good inspiration. When my brain does that, it's like watching a movie. Most of the time, frankly, I see things like a movie. It's just a matter of degree.

I watched a really cool documentary the other night called "Room 666." Wim Wenders had this brilliant idea to ask filmmakers of the time (1982) about the future of cinema. Jean-Luc Godard was the first interviewed and he said a great thing (well, he said many great things but this was one of them). (Paraphrase) "I am sitting in front of the camera, but in my mind, I am behind it."

News is, "Nora" is coming along very well. I have the first cut completed and am in the process of working with a composer on the score. I've been working with sound artists a lot this last week and it is very enjoyable for me. It is the sort of artistry that I really admire and find so much inspiration from.

I am also directing a theatre show in the spring, which I am very much looking forward to. Live theatre affords such interesting opportunities for exploration and it was the first place I fell in love with acting. I have the good fortune to work with my lovely, talented friends of defunkt theatre. The show opens in late April.

News over... what now? Perhaps a drive, listen to some music... more caffeine
STRETCHED

The good news is we have some awesome footage; the bad news is I feel like I'm losing my mind. Not an unusual feeling for me.

If you look on the "films" section of my site, you'll see a new still of the current film "Nora." We're shooting on HD with 35mm lenses. It looks really beautiful. Wow. I've never been able to realize my ideas in quite this way before. It is pretty exhilarating. I am also really exhausted. I can't seem to get myself back together. I know as soon as we are done shooting this (one more weekend of shooting) it will be straight to post for me. Which is good, but I'm also directing a theatre show in the spring and am feeling...

STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT!

Time for some Zen tea. My son gave it to me for Christmas. He's really smart. Why can't I be more like him? Why in the world should he have to grow up and join the ranks of the rest of us angst-ridden adults?

He's reading "Eragon" right now. We tried to see that movie twice this weekend. It sounded really appealing to me, some escapist kid movie with dragons in it. Sounds like just the right thing, especially with my kid. He's super cool. Yes, chocolate and escapism. Yum!
SUNNY HOLIDAYS

It is so lovely out for a December day!

I can't talk for long, but wanted to post a quick update. Pre-Production for the shoot is chugging right along with its usual "we can't shoot it in that amount of time" kind of thoughts along with the stomach churning (and flip flopping) sleepless nights where you weigh and re-weigh time vs. money. Time or money? Which will it be because you can't have both! For the most part I feel surprisingly calm. The good news is the shot list, script and story boards look pretty dang cool. If we can pull this off (and we will) I am going to have some cool footage to work with in post. I am really looking forward to post! It's not too far off. The shoot is in one week. We're shooting for three days. We've got an excellent crew and lots of good gear to work with. So, things are looking pretty dang stellar.

I'll be back to post some news about how the shoot went. Until then.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
NICE PEOPLE

It is comforting to know that there are people out there that want to support the arts! Not only did we receive our RACC grant (hooray!) but we’ve secured our location for the next shoot as well! Holly and I just got back from the Jupiter Hotel, our location of choice for the next film. The Manager, Al, was really cool and totally... well, nice!

I encountered the same when I shot my last film, "Static." I looked and looked all over Portland for the right apartment location, but most people really weren't interested in talking to me at all. Then I met Troy at the Shalamar apartments. Not only did he agree to let us use his apartment complex, he custom painted the interior of the apartment for us! He was really cool and totally... well, nice!

I've been thinking about posting a catalog of my recent creative inspirations. Here they are. (In random order)

1. Nice people.

2. My son and all of his friends. These kids are go-getters. They don't let petty things like fear of failure stand in their way. They aren't hindered by whether their ideas are "good" or "bad." They are totally free in their creativity.

3. Optimism. It's infectious.

4. Collaborating. I love the part of pre-production when you get to put everyone in the room together and everyone starts riffing on the theme/aesthetic of the film from every angle. It's beautiful. I get really excited and inspired when I listen to talented friends and colleagues pitch their stellar ideas.

5. Unexpected observations. "I like going to school this way, it's pretty how the ivy grows on the walls." - Calvin, 11 (my son).

6. Steven Soderbergh. Frankly, he has uttered the most memorable words of advice, for me, in the past few months. I recently read his book "Getting Away With It." Very good. I also have listened to commentaries on "Clean Shaven" (interview with Lodge Kerrigan) and "Bubble." He has this wonderful way of making you feel like you can make a movie. That it is not impossible, you just need to get out there and do it.

7. People who are just as manic as I am. Feels good to know you are not alone.

8. My parents. Neither of them died with any major regrets.

9. T.V. shows and commercials from the 70's. Reminds me of being a kid. A good thing to be reminded of, I think. My recent favorite finds on youtube, the Enjoli perfume commercial and The Electric Company (T.V. show)

10. The Electric Company (the T.V. show)
COLD COMFORT - AN UPDATE

Ok, so I should be doing other activities right now, like hacking away at the never ending list of "things to do." I am going to write instead.

News... NEWS. Yes, ok. News. Well, I am working on a new project with my stellar artist friend Holly Andres. We are having a wicked amount of fun. We are planning to shoot in January and the plot involves a staircase and a girl on the go. That's all I'm saying! Stay tuned, there will be more info, maybe even images, in the near future.

Soon there will be trailers and excerpts of video on my site (refer to paragraph one).

My cat needs some serious attention right now and I can't think of anything clever to say. Every time I try to type something, kitty just sticks his head under my hands... a subtle way of indicating it is time for his pets.

Peace.
BEGIN

A good place to start. Think of this place as a hybrid blog/news area. It would be pretty neato to have a BLOG space, but as I haven't quite figured where or how I would like to do that blog thang, I will use this space for now. Is "news" another name for "blog?" Are blogs news? WHAT IS A BLOG?? I am embarrassingly web illiterate when it comes to... well, everything about sharing via the web (except for e-mail). I might be reaching an age, I feel, when certain technologies or cultural changes are going faster than I care to keep up with.

This site is still evolving, but I hope that you may find pieces of interest here in relation to what I have been creating for the past few years.