January is a big month this year.
Sure, there’s Season 3 of Downton Abbey, which necessitated a sleepover at my Mom’s house on Sunday. Never mind that I haven’t caught up with seasons 1 and 2 yet. I will!
Then, there’s the observance of “Vegan Month,” a tradition I started almost 10 years ago, that has become a treasured practice to start the new year off clean and energized. The idea is to observe a vegan eating plan for the month of January, because New Year’s resolutions are destined for failure, so why not focus on a month-long spiritual and physical cleansing instead? I love vegan month. I never experience so much joy in cooking and eating as I do during January. Already the lovely corduroy jeans purchased for Christmas have slipped down my veganized hips, which at one point in time would have pleased me immensely, but today I mostly just find interesting. There’s also the little issue of the pulled pork sandwiches. More about that in a future post.
Next, I’m super excited about signing up for the Strava Base Mile Blast Challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with Strava, it is basically a web site where narcissists can upload their endurance-type workouts (cycling, running, etc.) and then record, view, and compare their activities. It’s great fun. I have an irreverent user name that perfectly captures my sentiments about the tool, and I have to admit it’s very motivating to be challenged to acquire as many miles as possible in January. I’ve gone out for a quick ride on days when I otherwise would sit on the couch and write crap on my blog. So far I’m in like 8,000th place! It would help if I hopped on my road bike and cranked out some miles, but it’s all good.
Lastly, the biggest thing about January is the short film I’m producing. Completely for the hell of it, I decided I wanted to write, direct, and produce an original short film. My original intention was to explore Blake Snyder’s 15-beat approach to writing a spec feature film screenplay. I wanted to apply the format to a much shorter project, to get a handle on using all the different beats. I pitched the idea to a handful of people, and next thing I know, my writing partner and I were putting the last words into the first draft on January 1.
Today, I met with the film crew and scouted our locations. Thursday we’ll be rehearsing, blocking scenes, and shooting some test footage. Friday and Saturday we’ll finish up filming. It’s so exciting! I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about the whole process of filmmaking already. Doing a project from inception to completion has also taught me more about screenwriting specifically, which has really surprised me.
I have a writing partner for the screenplay. Let me just say that when it comes to creative projects, I’m generally a loner. Especially writing projects. But Daquann wanted to learn about the craft of screenwriting, so I invited him to co-write, and it’s been amazing. We finished the first draft of the screenplay 4 days ahead of schedule. I will always vividly remember our Skype meeting on January 1 when we fleshed out the last scene, sat back, and said “wow, what do we do now?” We both enjoyed the process so much we’re already planning our next project. I absolutely would not have enjoyed writing the screenplay as much without him, and I know the final result would have fallen far short in terms of quality. I believe that’s what is commonly called a “defining moment.”
Anyhow, even if your January isn’t lining up to be so big, you can look forward to seeing Clean Getaway screened at our Black Tie Release Gala in the spring. And it’s not too late to start your own Vegan Month. Or at least catch up with Downton Abbey.
Happy New Year!