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August 14, 2006

Anxiously waiting to edit

filmblog.gifBY LINDSEY BLACK, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA - I decided to take a much needed break from life before I get buried in my computer. I am going to be here in L.A. helping out with the needy to get my mind off of me and onto people who really don't know their place in life. It has been great these last three days. I feel like L.A. is home to me, maybe because growing up those were my initials (Lindsey Anderson), or maybe it is the atmosphere. Most people don't get this giddy around a picture of a slate outside a Burbank movie theatre. Everywhere you go, you can find at least one person who is connected to the film industry one way or another. But is L.A./Hollywood really where I want to be? It is so corporate. The great thing about the an Indie film and its crew is you become family. It is easier to get to know each other and I respect the films more because you have to work so hard to come up with the finances.

I, of course, have been keeping an eye on the blog a lot. I can't wait to see what they have to write. I am so excited to see the footage. I am bumming a bit, especially when I see the pictures on the blog, but this getaway is helping me out a bit. I can certainly be thankful that I am not in Africa with one set of clothes on my back and some foriegn bug bites. There is not much I can blog about until I begin the edit, which I am anxiously waiting to get started on. I will definitely let you know the progress. Let's all hope we have no big issues (like dropping a laptop, like I already did) and get through this for the Sundance deadline. Stay strong crew!

August 02, 2006

Hotsi Tsotsi

206.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, AZ, USA - I thought I would blog about my experience watching the Academy Award Winning TSOTSI. This was filmed in South Africa and gave us a clear idea of what it will be like in Zambia. I must say, I will add this to my DVD collection. I really enjoyed this film. People who know me, know that I am not into reading … especially subtitles. But I must say, I would not even begin to complain about reading TSOTSI. The movie pulled me in quick. I was very disappointed when the film had hardly started and the lights came on. We heard, “Come outside and get your tacos.” (A lot of the crew had been working on storyboards and other tasks all day so they needed to be fed.) I was like NO! I want to see this. I didn’t even leave my chair but rather sat anxiously waiting for the movie to start up again while getting to know another crew member. I was pleased when the movie started back up; thank goodness it was a hungry crew and didn’t take them long to eat.

The color in this film is amazing! The people in this film are beautiful! The cinematograpy and lighting in this film is gorgeous! Everything about it was great — the actors were wonderful, the editing and timing was perfect and the story was well thought out. I want to get the DVD so that I can see the extras and deleted scenes. Oh, and the music … I loved the beat. I am going to look into seeing if there is a soundtrack, you bet I will buy it.

You are probably wondering why I am not describing the story much…well…I have been known to give away too much so instead I just want to HIGHLY recommend seeing this beautiful film.

August 01, 2006

I Edit Film, Not My English

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, AZ, USA - We are about a week away from the crew taking off to Zambia to begin the shoot. I was pretty bummed that I am being “left” behind here in the states. Then I realized, staying here to be the editor is a film credit I would much rather have than going to Zambia to be a gofer (cinematography is not my thing). I have worked with Cyndi for 3 or 4 years now, and I enjoy doing that, but the editing job I have been given is more important with the Sundance deadline being so close.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to go to Africa; it has been my dream since I was a child, but I guess now is not the time to fulfill that dream. I am getting anxious to get started on the edit. As soon as that first DVD of footage is in my mailbox I'll probably be swallowed up by my computer. We have to have a final cut by the end of September which means I should be ready with the editing of the rough cut when they return. It is going to be so stressful, but I work well under stress. Believe me, no one wants to be around me while I am stressing out, but when I get the job accomplished, it is the best feeling in the world. So much weight is lifted of my shoulders and I can breathe deep. I love it and I can’t wait for that moment.

Believe it or not, I am getting EXTREMELY excited about Sundance ’07. Not just because we may have our films in there but because Sundance ’06 was the best time of my life. Without a doubt I will be there the whole ten days this time. The atmosphere is so much fun. I met a lot of people, I ventured out with cinematographer Mike Montesa to do some street interviews and it was just awesome. I even made a long term friendship with actor Adam Scarimbolo who is the most humble person I have met. Without Cyndi, I don't think I would have ever experienced Sundance. I could not thank her enough for her generosity.

Needless to say, even though I miss the opportunity to go to Zambia, there is still SO MUCH MORE to look forward to. These four weeks of shooting are nothing compared to what is still ahead. But of course, it is the most important. Good luck crew and make us proud!

Film Zambia Crew

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(Click to view larger image)

July 26, 2006

Save it

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, AZ - We are working on a very tight deadline in order to hit Sundance ’07. We are going to have to spend sleepless nights to get these two films edited down to the first draft within 3 weeks. Luckily most of us had the same training from Cyndi so our skill levels are about the same and it will make it easier to switch off after long hours of staring at a computer screen that seems to start flinching after a while.

One reason I enjoy post-production is because you sit at a computer and stay focused on the cuts and sound editing and everything else in life disappears. It is so easy to drown yourself in editing. To keep up on my skills, I have been editing wedding videos and home videos. I try to memorize as many keyboard commands and any other short cuts to speed the process up.

crashOne thing I do not like about post-production is that you never know when your computer needs a break and decides to CRASH. I can probably guarantee that will happen, especially when the deadline is tight and all our nerves will be racked. Sometimes I think computers can sense when you really need something done. They decide to show who is really in control and say information overload, goodnight.

After taking classes at MCC since 1999, I can always hear two things while working at home. CLAP CLAP, “double click” and “Save it! If you like it, save it!” Cyndi’s constant reminder in class has really stuck in my mind and saved me in many situations of crashing.

July 23, 2006

History Makers

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, AZ - Today I heard something about being a History Maker, being the one who changes the course of life. I started to dwell on that and had a WOW realization! That is what we are! This movie could change lives in Zambia! Then I started thinking about the actors. They probably don't realize that if this is successful, they could become legends in their nation. Many years from now, people might look back at them like we look back on Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, and Katharine Hepburn. With Danny taking his musical talents to the big screen, it is just like our musical movie King, Elvis Presley.

Not only might this change Zambia, which certainly is the most important goal of this project, but also Mesa Community College: the teachers, the students, the administration and the college culture. And to think that this huge change in Zambian history was from the goal that Jabbes Mvula had to honor the memory of his son.

July 22, 2006

Independent Film Fan

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, AZ, USA - Other than the movie BAD T!MING, I never thought I would blog about why I like independent films. I never used to find the point in them until I started taking film classes at Mesa Community College with Cyndi Greening. Once you see the breakdown of a Hollywood movie, you know how each and every movie is going to end up. You can pick the bad guy out easily and tell what the resolution will be. In the independent film industry, you never know what you are going to get. Most people like things that are predictable and safe. I think that is why typical movie goers have a hard time with the change of format of the indie films.

One of the first indie films I saw was WAKING LIFE. I loved it!!!! We also watched the DVD extra on the program they used to make this. At that time, I was in my beginning film classes. For a class project, I ran each frame of the film through Adobe Photoshop to give it a filter for that cartoon look. It turned out pretty cool, but not as detailed as WAKING LIFE. Now I even see that technique used in commercials. My husband calls me in the room every time it is on because he knows I am just amazed by it.

th-08.jpgRichard Linklater is now coming out with A SCANNER DARKLY which I am so excited about. I believe this will be a bigger hit because it has A-list actors Keanu Reeves, Robert Downy, Jr., Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson. I have to say, he is brilliant and on my list of favorite directors…next to Jabbes… : ).

My first full out experience with Independent films was at Sundance '06. I liked every movie I saw. I know at least two of them will probably never be released (American audiences are not ready). I am so glad I had the chance to see them. I will be a regular attendee from now on.

July 20, 2006

Superb Script

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - I have been going through the BAD TIMING script. I am so excited to be a part of this project. I can visualize every captive moment. In this case, I was confused and had a hard time keeping up with the characters names. This may be because the names are so different compared to typical American names. So to fix this problem, I grabbed a stack of notebook paper and started to go though the script again and made notes of all the characters and how they connected to each other. That way, when I was studying the script, I had an easy reference. But I gotta say, I loved it. It was very well written and I am extremely excited to see it all played out on screen. It is just so exciting to have a finished script in my hands. I have attempted to write a screenplay myself and never get past the first 8 pages. I am so impressed with Jabbes. From my attempts, it just is not an easy task to get the story all set. Especially when all the main characters have to be introduced in the first 10 pages.

lions.jpgI have been going through and consolidating junk. I found a project from elementary school where I drew a plane with a lion and I wrote a story about Africa and how I wanted to go there. I am crazy about wild cats. My last house was completely wild cat skin décor, my desktop background is leopard and tiger on my laptop. Not to mention, the Disney LION KING movies will always be my favorite. I just found this opportunity connected to my childhood dreams so amazing. It is almost like I knew I would be connected to Africa someday.

When I was asked in classes where I would like to go, anywhere in this world, I would always say Africa to go on a safari. Someone actually asked me if I would go on a shooting safari. No way…just with a camera. There was only one other place in the world I wanted to go and that was Egypt. Low and behold, looking at a map, it is also in Africa (my geography skills were never great). Whether I will be able to go to Africa on the shoot or if I will be here working on the edit, it is all connected to my dreams growing up.

July 18, 2006

Still Looking for Funding

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, USA — Last night's meeting was awesome. We are now three weeks away from departure to Zambia; making the first feature film in this country; contributing to the country; starting our careers as filmmakers; being a success. We are just around the corner from a life changing commitment.

The room was filled with emotion last night. Some were scared and nervous and some, like me, are extremely excited, and others are still wondering if they are going to get to go. It is a total bummer that we are FOUR students short of having us all be there in unity as a crew. The plane tickets are extremely expensive and will only be going up from this point.

I have been on Myspace.com spreading the news and posting links to the website in their film section and on filmmaker magazine with hopes that SOMEONE would be interested in helping out.

Unfortunately, I am one of the students who are not funded yet. The first to be funded are those who specialize in production (cinematography, sound, lighting). Those of us who have both production and post production editing skills are the last to be funded because we can also contribute following the shoot. Granted, there is much to be done here in the states, too. We've been prepping and practicing with all of us. If the money comes, we know we're needed.

So, if you'd like to make a tax deductible contribution to support us, please email Contribute to FilmZambia.

July 07, 2006

I Heart LA

partylinz.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - I was bummed to miss out on Weds. meeting with the Arizona Repubic reporter. We had just driven into town from L.A. at 2:30 that morning. I just love L.A. It is amazing to find that so many people you talk to there are associated in the film industry or know people who are. I am hoping to find a job in the industry. Although the streets of L.A. are dirty compared to Phoenix, the excitement and buzz around there is so much greater. It seems like people in L.A. don't care what other people think, they live the way they want.

My son Jett left a day earlier with my mom. I called to check up on him that night and we both started to cry. It is going to be so hard on us to be miles away. I think the best thing to do is avoid that phone call home. It is hard to hear those cute little voices. I think it will be harder for my family because I will be so busy working time will fly by for me.

Going to the party at Priska's house was really fun! The food was interesting. I myself do NOT care for fish or any seafood. So, I passed on the little creatures and went on to other choices that I thought were great. For those who don't know me, it takes A LOT for me to try new foods. The food choices I made were great. I would for sure eat them again. We also heard some music from Zambia which I truly enjoyed and listened to it again on the way to California. The folks we met were wonderful and sweet people. I imagine long term friendships coming out of this project.

July 01, 2006

Pray for Power

jackson.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - Wednesday night at my church we had guest speaker, Jackson Senyonga from Uganda, Africa who has a church of 40,000 people. The way he talked about the people over there excites me even more. They are loving people in Africa. The best thing he said was he has 20 more minutes. Then proceded to say African minutes. Which just shows they slow down and take their time and not rush through things. I did get a little worried when he said "power today, none tomorrow." I am hoping it is different in Zambia. That will make a 3 week shoot on a very tight schedule otherwise. The best thing about hearing this pastor is that my husband left the service telling me that he feels much better about me going now and he wished he could go.

I have been working on an editing project and I have had a lot of problems with the output. I get so frustrated and hope that we don’t have issues like this. This is the bad thing about relying on electricity and electronics, sometimes they don’t want to work they way you want. I am thankful that these kinds of issues are in post-production and we will be in the states for that. But it does turn on the light that things can go wrong and we have to be prepared to deal with it.

Tonight we are getting together for some Zambian food and music. I was bummed because I thought I wouldn’t get to go because we are going to LA. But I just found out we are leaving at 3 AM so I can pop in for a short time. I can’t wait!

June 24, 2006

Who We Are

BY THE AFRICAN VOICE DOCUMENTARY FILM CREW, MESA, AZ, USA - The last week, we worked on a short video to give people a sense of who we are and why we're doing what we're doing. Three of the editors put together versions of varying length.

WhoWeAreSm.jpg SHAWN DOWNS put together the Who We Are in Two Minutes movie. Shawn recently graduated from Arcadia High School and will be going to the LA Film School upon his return from Zambia. Shawn is an excellent cinematographer, gaffer and all-round crew member. Shawn had a short film in the PHOENIX FILM FESTIVAL 2006. I'd count on seeing great things from him in the future.

WhoWeAreMed.jpg LINDSEY BLACK crafted the Who We Are in Five Minutes. Lindsey graduated from Mesa Community College. She has made numerous short films and is looking to build a career in the independent film industry. Lindsey enjoys acting, editing and producing. Already a Sundance veteran, Lindsey is looking forward the 2007 festival. She learned a great deal about networking at the last festival from actor, Adam Scarimbolo.

WhoWeAreLong.jpg MICHAEL MONTESA completed the Who We Are in 17 Minutes. Another Sundance veteran with a commitment to work in the independent film world, Mike is a respiratory therapist by vocation and photographer/cinematographer by avocation. Mike has won several awards at the annual Mesa Community College Art Show. In addition to being a great on-set photographer, Mike loves designing movie poster and DVD case covers. His designs are terrific.

Getting Anxious

zambiavisa.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - I am getting so excited to go to Zambia. I have already had two nightmares that I forgot my passport. I live 45 minutes away from the airport so it wouldn't be so easy to run home and get it. So, I am going to put my passport in my bag that is already packed with my clothes.

Editing the promo really has me pumped. I enjoyed it so much. I find that working on my computer is my vice. Some people need certain things to keep them going, I need time on my computer editing to make me happy. I have been working on editing wedding videos and slideshows, but they don't excite me like this project does.

Not to mention, I was blessed with a new Mac laptop for doing some work for someone. I was so excited to hear about that. Not to mention, it is one more editing machine we will have in Zambia. It pays to do goodwill for people because with out any expectation, they may return the favor.

June 14, 2006

Endurance

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - Last night's meeting was great. We are all getting closer like a family and are learning to work together like a good film crew. We were getting serial numbers, passports, and paperwork all ready and organized. Jeniece is in charge of hair and make-up and is bringing me along with her. We were looking online for books, but it was far and few between. Not only do we have to learn to do make-up for film but also hair and make-up for Africans.

We also chit chatted about certain customs and what not. My eyebrows lifted quite high on a few topics. Ironically, that same morning, I went to a bible study and the topic was on Endurance. This is something we are all going to need during this time of being out of our element. We may want to give up at least once or wonder why we got involved…but as a team we need to endure through the conditions and stay strong for Cyndi, Jabbes, and most importantly, for the people of Zambia. I think the endurance part will be needed the most when we return to the states. Some might be tired and want to rest from the project, but in reality, we have to endure until it is completely finished all the way through to the credits. We have got to get these films edited down and not slow down until we are done. So let's all encourage each other and endure until the end.

June 10, 2006

CONSIDER ME LIT

BY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - As I was driving down Power Rd. today, I saw the set for MIAMI VICE. It was so awesome to see. Then I started dwelling on how awesome it is going to be on the BAD TIMING set. Granted, we don’t have half buildings that look like a town, but a set is a set and it is as real as any other Hollywood movie.

Today was a well-informed meeting on lighting. The equipment we have is incredible! We are set up as professional as they come. The demo made it very clear on how important lighting is and how much better the scene looks. The biggest challenge was getting it back in the box the way it came out of the box. So I also learned that if it doesn’t zip easily, it is not in right. Hmmmm…all these years I just sat on top of my stuff until it zipped.

We also talked about the culture and etiquette. Pam's friend, Darrin, came to speak to us about the experience he had for the four months he was in South Africa. It was great to hear some advice from an informed American who had already been there. He showed us how close people stand in line, how long they will continue to shake your hand while you talk and how to properly greet someone. I learned that we all definitely need to pop our personal space bubble and be prepared to get close. I am just so excited to see this culture. To me, I think we are going to experience a culture that continues to be based on a lot of moral values that America has abandoned.

jett.jpgThe last week has been rough for me because I wasn’t sure I was going to go due to my son's birthday being right in the middle of when the shoot was planned. Now we are leaving the day before his birthday and I am convinced that it is okay to have his party the weekend before and celebrate it then. I will miss my kids and husband so much. We have been spending a lot of time together and it is going to be hard on all of us. Jett has a hard time of me leaving for only a couple hours…what is it going to be like for three weeks? I think we will all appreciate each other more.

June 05, 2006

Fortune Cookie=High Hopes

fortune.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, ARIZONA, USA - The craziest thing happened tonight. After eating my orange chicken from Panda Express (I will miss my fast food), I opened my fortune cookie. Reading the words "You could prosper in the field of entertainment" could not have sunk in my mind even more how important this is to all of us. I dedicate it to the whole team. I know something big will come out of this project. Not that I am a lucky rabbit foot kind of person, but on top of that, my TV changed ALL by itself the other day to the Sundance channel! I don't pay for it on DirecTV, but I though it was crazy it would just change to an unused channel all by itself.

June 30th is sneaking up quick and I believe we all are feeling a whirlwind of emotions right now. I am so excited! I already started packing today. I fear forgetting something important so I thought I would get a jumpstart. I have been spending more time with my husband and kids which will just make it that much harder for the separation, but that much better for when I return.

My job will be editing and I have been paying very close attention to editing styles in any movie or TV show. The Zambia Nation has a different rhythm than here in the U.S. I am hoping to hear some music from their country so I can feel their rhythm of life. I believe this will help me find a good editing style that fits the Zambian people. I am not the only editor, so it will be fun to collaborate with the others and see what we come up with. Sometimes it is hard to fit different styles in together, but our group is pretty open minded and I believe we will come together without too much of a battle.

May 24, 2006

Wants of Life

ngoniWoman.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, USA - There are three things everyone wants in life, Happiness, Longevity, and Wealth. I want these things, too. But in this case I will not request them selfishly.

I want happiness to be spread about the Zambian Nation knowing that there are people in the United States who care about lifetime opportunities for third-world countries. I want to bring smiles to their face knowing that we stopped our spoiled lives here in the U.S. to jump start a life changing point in history in their country.

I want Longevity not in life but for this project. I want us, as a team, to put our all into it and live out this project as if we were living out the last days of our lives. I want this project to be a mark in history that Zambian students will learn in their classes that this project changed history by opening more jobs in their country. I want longevity of the impact this country will have on our lives. I don’t want us to come home appreciating everything and then start getting used to it again. I want us to think about what we did for these people and be humble.

victoriaFalls.jpgI want wealth for the Zambian people. I don’t believe wealth is only in the form of money. I think it comes in a form of health and opportunities. This project is an awesome opportunity for Jabbes and the people of his country. I believe the wealth of this country will be more positive recognition and an escape of busy life to the tourism of natural God-made beauty. That beauty isn’t just the landscapes, but the beauty of the people like I see in Jabbes. Their morals are so strong and set and they know how to “stop and take time to smell the roses” unlike us Americans who are always on the run and feel we have slowed our lives down just by not spilling our coffee on the way to work.

I am so excited for the cultural exchange. I believe we are going to learn so many good morals from the Zambians that the United States have lost a long time ago. I can’t wait to talk to some of the people and find out what their expectations of us coming into the country were.

May 20, 2006

Great Expectations

lindsey.jpgBY LINDSEY BLACK, CHANDLER, USA - I am thrilled to be a part of this project. Even if I stayed here in the states to work on this film, just knowing I am going to be part of something that will be life changing to the Zambian nation is what it is really about. Just to get to know Jabbes as a person is worth it alone too. I can’t express how grateful I am to say I know Jabbes. He is an awesome guy who is really focused on this project and starting the film industry in the memory of his son, Jabbes Jr.

I do have all sorts of thoughts running through my mind of how it will be over there. You seem to only hear the bad, but I know that there is so much beauty in this country and in the people. I don’t fear something happening with the people … okay, I will be blunt … like sexual attacks ... BUT I do fear creepy bugs that are lugging around, who knows what kind of disease. But that is why I spent a lot of money to have those preventative vaccines taken. Oh and let me tell you, I felt like I was literally shot in the arms. I had to resort to painkillers just so I could lift my arms without wincing. Even more than that, I am trying to figure out how I am going to deal with the long flight! My iPod batteries won’t last that long. I guess I will try to sleep so my energy will be ready to give my all day in and day out for the month of being there.