Diane's Diary #4: From Shelved to Should I?
Updated: Sep 20
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The film project had been shelved for about two years (starting in 2016), though I thought about it from time to time. During those two years, I read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She wrote about how a project of hers had jumped to another talented writer, Ann Patchett. I’m not going to explain that in this blog- it’s a great book- I recommend it. But it did inspire me to ask (myself… a higher power…) if this project was still mine to do. Or, if, because I had not given it attention for two years, it found a different person to bring it forth. It seems, as of now, it’s still moving forward and still mine to do. And I keep asking that question regularly, because, ya’ never know.
I was studying Spiritual Psychology at The University of Santa Monica (USM) from 2017-2018 and one of our requirements was to do volunteer work. I had been curious about equine therapy and reached out to a local organization called Ride to Fly because they have a wonderful volunteer program.
I went through their training program to learn how to be a side-walker. Side-walkers help riders with challenges stay atop the horse. Riders at Ride to Fly, and in many equine therapy programs, are there for a variety of reasons. The riders that were at Ride to Fly when I was volunteering had Autism diagnoses, Down Syndrome diagnoses, Cerebral Palsy diagnoses, anxiety, ADHD diagnoses and more. There are tons more reasons why people might benefit from equine therapy and there are different types of equine therapy that we will learn about on this journey.
I remember how much joy I felt when I volunteered there. The riders were so happy riding, and their parents enjoyed watching their children enjoying themselves. Plus, being around the horses at the barn is nourishing for anyone’s soul.
(I wrote a blog about Ride to Fly at that time which you can find here)
Just when my USM experience was coming to a close, I got an email from a group called Movie Maker Academy (MMA) inviting filmmakers to learn how to self-distribute their films. MMA was taught by 3 filmmakers who were/are successfully filming and distributing their films online. I was intrigued by this and joined the course. They also taught some filmmaking basics which have been extremely helpful, though I am quite clear that in order for me to make decent looking films that I need to hire lots of great people who really know what they are doing.
It was clear that it was time to get back to work on the film project, so I opened up the film file and started exploring again.
That summer I got a chance to meet a colleague/friend of mine in person. His name is Chris Roy, and he is the founder of Doobert. Doobert is this really cool organization that connects people with volunteer opportunities, particularly in animal care and transport. Chris was in LA for a conference and we had coffee. During our conversation, I told him about my plan to make a feature film. He asked why, if I didn’t have much film experience, and no following (yet), would I make a feature-length film that would cost a gazillion dollars? Instead, he suggested that I make short films to get my feet wet, get some exposure and see if I even liked doing it. Hmm. Good counsel. But I still wasn’t sold on the idea.
Two weeks later I had lunch with a friend who asked me the same exact question. Ok, Universe, did you just send two different people that don’t even know each other with the same message to me?
Now I was listening.
It seemed to make a whole lot of sense to start with short films. And now my mind was filling with all of the stories that would lend themselves to a short film, rather than the feature-length film.
Tune in next time to learn what steps I took to actually get the films started!
And watch the first mini-doc in our series here: https://www.animalmagicfilms.com/watch-now