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Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting personal: My independent film, Lost In Sunshine, and indie documentary, What I Know For Sure

With eight hundred dollars in hand, I once took off alone to NY at the age of 19. Growing up in a small town (no, no, really small - population 300!) I somehow left with this fearless attitude that I could do anything I wanted. Call it naivety, call it good parenting. I had the will to shoot for my dreams, and I was off!!

It was two whole weeks before I returned back to Texas. :)

What I learned from that experience is what I didn't want to do. Very important. And that I wasn't so fearless. NY scared the shit out of me. I didn't know how to get around, talked the nice person at the closest convenience store into cashing my MO's when I needed them, and ate a lot of muffins for dinner. :)

By the time I was 21, I had lost a lot of what had once made me feel whole as a child - a real home to go home to, a long-term relationship, and a cohesive family that was stable and healthy.

In addition, I had shamefully dropped out of school, worked endless minimum wage jobs, and found my friends in less than desirable places. Yes, I was playing out a role that was full of insecurities, heartache, drugs, dishonest people, and a little hope... just barely hanging on to a valuable existence. There was even a time when I lived out of my car. I wasn't sleeping in it, which would've been very different, but I didn't have a home address. I stayed with friends, and worked as much as I had to - just to pay my car payment and for pizza.

Working on my current documentary, What I Know For Sure, and giving the audience an honest portrayal of me and my beliefs has been more challenging than I'd hoped. Consequently, it's forcing me to look into my past, and face what should've perhaps been faced long ago. Could this be the best therapy?

As I write, I realize this has become a bit of a dumping ground, too. But perhaps that's where my doubt, questions, and quest for the cosmos first arose - though those challenges.

Writing has always been an imperative tool for my sanity, too. I can't imagine my life without it, just as you wouldn't imagine living without air. And filmmaking is what brings everything and everyone together. Once it's created, it's like an imprint of your soul - waiting to be relived by others who are intrigued by the journey (or trailer!) enough to watch it.

As I move forward in my 30's, I find all of my hardships, past and present, to be highly beneficial! Mostly, because hard times are accompanied by something we can at least look back on and laugh about. Especially in writing Lost In Sunshine, my sweet disheartened baby, who also hangs on to hope... even when it feels hopeless.

And just look where we are now. :)

Thank you, Lyn and Bob, for making my life seem so flawless.

"What I Know For Sure is Nothing."
-Story Musgrave


  1. Lovely Jentri. I think that even as artists aspire to inspire others with their stories, that the putting-together of the stories always ends up being more inspiring to the artists, themselves. I know that's the case for me!

    I think that's why I love making theatre and movies, and not consuming them as much as others might think I'd want to (Ken despairs that I don't like watching movies/tv as much as he thinks I should, given my vocation). It's always such a rich experience, and in expected and unexpected ways, to TELL stories. I continue to have "a ha!" moments with Lost in Sunshine.

  2. That's beautiful, Lorie.

    It's always so interesting to me to learn what makes other creatives tick, too!

    Indeed, I feel like our opportunities to tell stories makes it worth our while to go through the less than desirable trips in life, as well. Gives us a little bit more flavor to add to the pot. :)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Love, J