February 24, 2007

Revisiting FilmZambia Crew Reels

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA — Working on the film trailers has us revisting all of the shooting days and recalling the terrific, dedicated work of our amazing FilmZambia crew. Their dedication and determination were unparalleled. So, a reminder to take a look at their reels if you're looking for a crew member who will do whatever it takes to get your film done!

December 31, 2006

How Africa Changed a Young Man from New Mexico

BY ROBBY BROWN, MESA, USA — For the holidays, I traveled home to New Mexico to be with my family. The town where I live, Farmington, there is a well-known very wealthy man, Mr. Bolack, who is known for the museum he left behind in his house. My friends and I went to this museum to check it out; it’s about eight (8!) enormous rooms filled with taxidermied animals that he hunted and killed, or at least assisted in capturing as he got older. As we entered "The African Room," one of my best friends shouted “Hey! He's been to Africa!” and pointed to me. I was smiling like a fool. The guide didn't care and continued but as my friends and I held back I was pointing out everything that we actually got to see on the trip! (The only thing we missed were the big cats.) I'd whisper stories to them and tell them about things like how close we were to the rhinos, that monkeys ran between us, that elephants were inches from us. I'm incredibly proud of this project and have no doubt it changed my life. I will always be indebted for that.

The day after tomorrow is a brand new year and I feel like it’s going to be beautiful. If you were to ask me a year ago what I wanted to do in ‘06, what I want to accomplish, I'd give you some lame answer because I never really had any goals or figured I would amount to much. But look what happened! I don't know if any of us would have been able to foresee that this group of passionate filmmakers would come together through a community college to shoot and finish two great films! Films in Africa! I mean really, who would have thought?! I think 2006 will be a year that I will remember for the rest of my life. Its significance will remind me of where I was where I am and how I got to be there. I believe the FilmZambia project really set me up for a career and life that I will love in the film industry.

Since we've returned, I've been fortunate to find numerous job opportunities and chances to grow. I've been able to shoot a pilot reality TV show, 20-minute interview pieces and work out videos—AND GETTING PAID!!! I owe everything to this crew and this beautiful experience. I'm able to take the knowledge and passion and confidence that I have gained into the new year and face any challenges knowing that I'll come out okay on the other end. After problem-solving in Africa, I know how to adapt and solve problems as they arise. 2006 has been an amazing life-changing year, thanks to MCC, Cyndi, the crew and the trust and support that we have built.

Who would have thought?

December 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Cyndi!! We love you!

Cyndi and younger sister Sandy in the driveway on Grandma Greening's farm in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Sandy found the haircuts quite alarming ... Prince Valiant, anyone? The shoes are something else, too! Mine look a little large while Sandy's look a little on the tight side. Notice how her feet are punching up like bread rising in a pan. Sandy was one of my best buddies in my youth and continues to be one of my closest allies. Seeing the photo of the two of us is a terrific birthday gift!

Pamela, "BA" Bowman
Happy 50th birthday!
There are so many things I could tell the world about you. Nervous? You should be! Let’s see…

You are who you are and “you are quite clear” on what you want. What is unique about you is your ability to help others gain clarity on what they want. I have benefited from your constant teaching this year. You have given those you know such a profound gift of self. As you have given us a sense of who we are I have watched you discover more of who you are. It is true we call you the GT (giant toddler), but in truth we all need to be more childlike. We all need to accept and love people as they are. This empowers all to become more of who they are intended to be.

Thank you for all you have done this year. I am quite confident that your next half century’s contribution to the world will be very significant, valuable and LARGE! Your brilliance is shining brighter all the time. We are not blinded by the light, but guided by it.

Thank you Cyndi. I celebrate your life.
Always, Pamela

M.K. "Gypsy Punk" Racine
Joyeux Anniversaire, Cyndi!

This is the second year I have been able to be part of your birthday and I hope to continue this well into the future. You have come to be a major part of my life, Cyndi. Academically you enabled me to flourish in the creative and supportive environment you so patiently and consistently provided. And eventually, the technical expertise you supplied me with, met the creativity I had within. Thank you!

Professionally, you entrusted me in roles and responsibilities far beyond that of which I thought I was capable. Again, I learned from you not in a classroom, but in the openness of a country primed for growth and opportunity, a reflection of me. How can I possibly thank you enough?

Personally, Cyndi, you have become a dear friend, one who provides humor, words of wisdom, comfort, compassion, knowledge, a positive perspective, and timely wit, among so many other gifts.

I don’t believe there is a birthday gift ample enough to show my appreciation for you and the various ways in which you have enriched and impacted my life. This birthday I wish you all the happiness you can handle through the gifts of love, friendship, good fortune, success, prosperity, good health and all other gifts important to you. Thank you and Happy Birthday, Makumba!

Je t’aime! –MK

Carlos "Shake Shake" Espinosa
Feliz cumpleanos…

Cyndi, well what can I say, even though I have known you for quite a few years already, I have not formally said happy birthday to you, You always hide it so well.

The big Five-0; well you are young at heart. It has been a privilege to be one of your students, to learn from you, to be motivated by you, to get pushed like nobody has pushed me before and more importantly to have your friendship. You have given me many wonderful gifts in life and this I cannot repay you...thanks for everything you have done for me.

So far, you have accomplished great things in life, and it seems that you are just getting started, I hope to be part of many more birthdays and experiences.

Te deseo felicidad, prosperidad, salud, amor y dinero……Cheers!

Nick "Tick-Tock" Marshall


Well wishes for all birthday celebrations! Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge and honesty with me. You've been a patient teacher and a caring friend. I hope your birthday is joyful and fun.


Jared "Grace" Moschau
I wish you a happy birthday and the best big 5-0. You have been a great influence on me and have pushed me to do things that I wouldn’t make myself do and I am not the only one. You are a role model to everyone that is part of the crew and also like a mother. I appreciate everything you have done for me and the opportunities that you have given to me. I hope you have another 50 great years.
Happy B-day Cyndi,

Robby "NPB" Brown
Hey Cyndi, Happy Birthday…The way I see it, the glass is half full…love you, Robby!

Michael Montesa

Happy Birthday Cyndi. Thank you so much for everything. Thank you for being my awesome mentor and for letting me work with you through all these years. Thanks for all the advice and thanks for being sweet and caring friend.




More birthday wishes to come throughout the WEEK!!!!
Alec "Sleeping Beauty" Hart
Jacob "Jacobo" Felix
Shawn "Nikolai" Downs
Edgar "Billie Jean" Rider
Heath "Karaoke King" McKinney

November 19, 2006

You Better Believe It

By ROBBIE BROWN, MESA, ARIZONA, USA - In my hunt for a job in "the business," I use websites like GOOGLE, but the key player in my search has been CRAIGSLIST and MANDY. It's the first thing I do when I wake up, after I check my e-mail. It's the last thing I do before I go to bed. I don't want to miss a beat.

gondrysleep.jpgAfter numerous attempts, I finally got a real bite and have something lined up for a week or so from now. Shooting a pilot reality show about a psychic ... For Free ... Okay, so it's not exactly what I had in mind. This opportunity and any in the near future I think will be because of my DEMO REEL and my cinematography and editing contributions to VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION. That gets you noticed. I knew this would be an amazing and outstanding addition for my resume and I was right. It feels great and is such a confidence booster being able to be a part of filmmaking. I don't own any equipment of my own to use, so when I found out I got this gig I sent an email out to my film family asking for help and as I expected I got numerous emails of support and willingness to help. I LOVE my film family dearly and am so very grateful for them.

I have nightly rituals which include checking out YOUTUBE and watching videos of my favorite music groups, movies and directors. One of my favorites is Michel Gondry. I highly suggest everyone who is interested in film check him out. This man's creativity is unreal. I know that I'm not that kind of artist ... yet, but watching his work inspires me and motivates me to try new techniques. His work opens my mind to try new things or just think about creative ways to shoot and edit film. It's reassuring to know that I'm only 19 and that I have the rest of my life to improve. I know I have a ton of momentum because of this whoooooole African experience. The only thing I need is more time. You better believe it.

October 22, 2006

Robby's Fo'Reel

BY ROBBY BROWN, MESA, USA – Robby's Fo'Reel Is what I thought was an appropriate name for a folder to keep all of my work to edit my Demo Reel on Cyndi's desktop. Robby's Fo'Reel somehow found it's way from the desktop to the harddrive to another desk to another harddrive and a couple more desktops at the same time taking up gigs and gigs of space. I'm have learned a great deal about how to manage my media so people, such as Cyndi, don't go crazy trying to keep track of everything.

"My media is offline! What the--"

"Where did you save it?" Cyndi would ask me.

Doh! Now, I'm figuring out. Yesterday, I finished My Demo Reel and am very happy with it. I've already sent it out to 6-8 different postings I've found on Craigslist and soon to be more. Before I finished my reel, I inquired about a job as an assignment cameraman for Media Center down in Phoenix. I sent them an e-mail with an informal resume. The next morning, I called them to check up on things and they said, "Oh! You're the Africa guy." It was so exciting to hear that.

robbynickedgar.jpg"Yeah...I'm the Africa guy." I knew this project would help me get my foot in the door. I've always daydreamed about it and it finally happened. And quickly. I'm so so so thankful for the support from everybody on the crew. We're all going places because we have each other. Plus we kick butt. Our time at the "Kraalette" Is finally over. I took my toothbrush, my burned DVDs and whatever else I forgot Cyndi would throw to me. It's a bummer, I won't see everybody as often and we don 't really have a common meeting place anymore. But I'll take what I've learned and accomplish my goals. I'm pretty much already there. "I Can't Believe It!" Cooooool!!!

October 06, 2006

I Can't Believe it

flintstoneCam.jpgBY ROBBY BROWN - MESA, ARIZONA I can't believe it. We have been home for almost a month now. Were we really in Africa shooting two films?!? Reality sets in everyday as the crew gathers in the hotel suites to do post-production.

I can’t believe how tedious and time-consuming post-production is! Fortunately I love it! Everyday I learn something new, something that will help me in my career. I feel like I have so much more experience and knowledge from all the experiences from the last several months. It has been all hands on, I tell ya! It is amazing to see how much we all have accomplished individually and as a crew!

I can’t believe how close we all became on the crew. I didn’t expect that. Now we are all making plans for our lives and we are going our separate ways. We are each taking what we learned and applying it to our own personal ambitions. It is sooo cool. This experience is helping each of us achieve our dreams! In the end I know we will always be a film family. We will always be Cyndi’s baby ducks. She led us in, got us through the rough situations and got us home.

I can’t believe that one of my teachers at Mesa Community College, who three months ago thought I was pretty much just a goof ball, I see more then my own roommates. I fall asleep on her beds. I rummage through her fridge and I use her toothpaste! Yea, I bring my toothbrush to work!

I can’t believe how much she continues to teach me. I have been thinking a lot about how I want to put together a demo real to send out to future employers. It has been fun to look at the footage I shot and see how it has changed and how I have grown as a filmmaker. While editing the doc I can see my gradual progress as a cinematographer. It is funny. As I watch I laugh and remember. I tell myself not to zoom. Come on don’t zoom….No! Why did you zoom!

I can’t believe how much money I can make doing something that I am absolutely thrilled about! I am more excited to learn everything I can. I am more excited about life! While I work I get in my own little world and I hear someone yell “doc cam!”. I feel that moment of excitement and energy. Then I realize it is just Cyndi wrestling Jeanette or Pam’s trying to pinch one of the kids.

I can’t believe it is almost over and sometimes I can’t believe it ever happened.
I can’t believe we have submitted two films to the Sundance film festival. I am apart of that and always will be. Me, Robby Brown! What, what whaaaat?

I can't believe it!

September 08, 2006

Production Crew Slideshow


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September 07, 2006

What What What?.......Oh

AlecRobbieChopper.jpgBY ROBBY "NO PASSPORT BOY" BROWN. TEMPE, ARIZONA – I think today I finally fully understand that I'm home now. After a few attempts to pay in Kwacha I took the Zambian money out of my wallet, washed all my clothes and have gotten used to a nice hot shower followed with anything I want to eat I eat....Perfect. But I still miss Zambia and the crew. ESPECIALLY the crew. I don't have Heath running into my room to wake me up. Even if I was already awake I'd lay in bed and wait for him to burst in. He was never gentle about it. Today we are going to start logging the footage for the documentary and for the feature. It's a lot of work but again, nothing this crew can't handle together. I'm excited to see how the doc turns out. We can take it in so many directions because so much has happened. We have all changed for the better from this experience and I think the friendships that this crew has generated are going to last for a while. That's great. I want to thank everybody for this beautiful experience.

MMMMMMMK...."-thanks for keeping me on my toes even when I gave you a look.
Heath "Karaoke King" – even though the umbilical cord broke and I was happy, you made a great Boom Operator.
The DOOM SQUAD – you're a bunch of goofballs but great talented guys who made the trip much more fun.
"Billy Jean" and Nick - You guys were great roommates I loved the conversations we had. Sorry for snoring.
Jared "Grace" – Good grief. Way to go on capturing those fun moments. Good job. "I love you Paul"
Alec and Jacobo-The other half of the Doc Crew, " That's juice son...yeah." Enough said.
AlecRobbieChopper.jpgJeniece "Gidget" – The whole crew agrees, you're such a sweetheart. You did a great job on makeup, everybody looked "Amaaaaazing."
Pamela - "Stop hitting the Children" and get Cyndi to the set on time.
And Cyndi "Mukumba" - There isn't enough time to explain how grateful the crew and I are for everything you taught us and did for us. Sorry about all the kwacha spent but trust me, It was not spent in vain. We love you dearly.

So for all the inside jokes and fun times, teaching me so much and all the memories, I thank you guys. Our lives will never be the same. If we can handle what we just did then we can do anything. I look forward to working with you again!

August 31, 2006

Everything Is Cool

BY ROBBY BROWN LUSAKA ZAMBIA-When I first arrived in Zambia I thought every little thing was cool. EVERYTHING! I loved it when people would look at us in our matching shirts and talk and point at us. When people waved, I eagerly waved back. When I whipped my camera out to take a picture everybody and their mother wanted their picture taken. That was cool. I’d say, “I’d love to take your picture!”

Now even though we have less then a week left, I’m finally starting to get settled in and used to things. Every little thing that was cool is now not as fun. If I’m walking through the plaza and everybody is staring I catch myself mumbling, “stop looking at me…” or when they ask, “Mister, take a picture of me.” I want to shout back,“No…”

mtendereSweets.jpgEven though I get a little irritated at these things it’s the little things that give this country it’s charm. It’s the 5 o’clock wake up sounds. The huge front gate being dragged open to let in the lodge crew. The laughing cooks in my kitchen preparing food for our entire crew (who happen to be sleeping still!). The fact that you can’t open any door completely because it hits the uneven floor and they all need WD40. We think WD40 should be sprayed over the entire city by dust croppers. Everything squeaks! Then there is the shower situation. When the shower has water you have to incorporate the hokey pokey to achieve rinsing off because it’s cold and the pressure is sporadic. Should we talk about time? We call it "Zambian Time." We add 2 hour cushion to any planned event to adjust to Zambian time.” We love how everybody speaks English but nobody understands each other. However, they are always willing to greet you with a smile and a wave.

If we don’t stop to notice and appreciate the little things that make up the big picture then really what are we looking at? Every minute detail is what makes Zambia so wonderful. So I guess it’s not so much that I’m annoyed by this place. In fact I love it so much and thank my lucky stars I’m here. It’s just that my comfort zone has been challenged and sometimes I miss the small details that make up the big picture. I’m in Africa for heavens sake. We are shooting films and having a blast. I’m maturing so much in many ways because of this country and the experience it’s providing. That is and always will be very cool!

August 16, 2006

Doc Crew Captures Zambian Artists


BY ROBBY BROWN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Yesterday, a small chunk of the crew and I went to the art village where they make crafts for sale. We did a few interviews and shot some B-roll. We watched them make drums, bowls and brightly colored batik cloth. Seeing how they make what they sell was inspiring. We are artists, too. So I appreciate the skills that the people have and are preserving.

One man lured me into his hut where he shared space with a couple of other artists. He showed me different things. After explaining that I didn’t have any money he mentioned that he liked my hat. I told him, “So, have you ever heard of Greenday?” I showed him my souvenir watch and pointed at a stone carving of a family he had made. We traded. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again.

Unfortunately the rest of the crew wasn’t having such a good day. Different problems with lights and power set the shoot back a day. Today, thank goodness, things are going great and both films are making excellent progress. I am thankful for this crew, this country and this opportunity. I am learning more than I ever expected and I have only been here five days! I often imagine how different my life will be when all of this is said and done. It’s part of what drives me to do my best. We are one well-oiled machine and I am fully confident that all of our talents combined will produce two amazing films.

August 12, 2006

Shooting a Documentary

airportscene.jpgBY ROBBY BROWN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA -- Shooting a documentary really isn't as easy as some may think. The country is beautiful and the people are wonderful but it's tough capturing that experience. You want to shoot everything but you need to save tape and battery. At the same time, you don't want to miss a key part in a conversation so you don't want to turn the cameras off. If I had "spidey sense" I would definitely use it. You need to keep an eye on everybody and make sure that if something goes down, you're right there getting it on tape. Another issue I found that I need to work on is lighting. Zambians are naturally very dark skinned, so when we are in ... say the Lusaka Playhouse. It's dark in there so I need to change some settings on the camera; if I follow somebody outside, I have to change it back to shoot outside so everything isn't washed out. Of course everybody has stuff to practice and over time we will get better. For now things are a little rough. But nothing worthwhile comes easy.

I absolutely love Zambia and am thrilled to be here. Thank you to the locals who are so inviting, and the family back home who are so encouraging!

August 03, 2006

Oh, the places we will go

BY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE AZ - In less than a week, the crew will be in Zambia, and production for the feature, BAD T!MING, will begin. VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION is already underway and will continue. But it will be different. Obviously. We have been filming our meetings and various moments here in Mesa and it's been going good. I was filming our great meeting we had on Monday and had fun doing it. I already love filming and editing and when I think about how in a week I won't be filming the students listening intensely while Cyndi and Jabbes prepare us, I'll be filming a featured film being made and a very tight American crew adjusting to very different cultures and life styles.

It's amazing! What an opportunity! Zambia is such a beautiful place and I am absolutely thrilled about capturing that beauty and letting the rest of the world see. As one of the cinematographers for the documentary it will be my job to capture significant/interesting moments. I have to help capture the full drama of the experience, moments that are happy, sad, scare, mad, and, no doubt, stressed. I need to be right up in there getting it. What I've noticed is that the crew, along with myself, will have to get used to having a camera follow them around. Especially in their moments of weakness, everyone resists being recorded then. I believe everyone will be so busy in Zambia, they won't even notice the cameras are there.

Every night I take a moment to prepare, to relax and reflect on everything in my life. What I do is I grab a lemonade and take my long board (It's a skate board, but longer ... and easier) for a spin around the neighborhood. I usually wait til late at night when the streets are dead. I'm off work and it's not 100 degrees outside. I picture what it will be like in Zambia, all the different things I'm going to see and experience. We won't have the luxuries we're used to having here in America. I think that will be a nice change of pace. By the time I'm rolling back into my driveway I am overwhelmed with excitment.

CrewAtMCC.jpgJobs, commitments, relationships, my "old" LIFE will be put on hold for 4 weeks+ to make room for the "new life" that will allow me to make these films. For Cyndi and Jabbes this started a long time ago. And there is no doubt in my mind that these films will be succesful each in their own way. I think, so what if they don't win best film at SUNDANCE, so what if we don't get distribution. Of course that would be absolutely wonderful but what we're doing is so much bigger than just that, it's so much bigger than all of us. Our goal is that this is making a difference in a country and helping improve the lives of the the people we meet and giving the crew an amazing experience and unbelievable "resume." Fame and money that may come with the making of the films will only be temporary. This experience, on the other hand, will stick with us and effect us for the REST OF OUR LIVES. Such a great learning experience.

Don't call them student films. We are professional filmmakers with a passion for film. We also happen to have attended and been blessed with the tremendous support of a truly AMAZING community and college -- we're lucky to found each other at Mesa Community College.

August 01, 2006

Film Zambia Crew


(Click to view larger image)

July 22, 2006

Don't Call Me Giddy...

ecstatic_man.gifBY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE AZ - This evening I went to the movies with my friend. We saw MY SUPER EX GIRLFRIEND. Usually after the movie, if it was a good movie, the rest of the night is filled with "Remember when..." and "Did you see that..." Well tonight it was more of me saying, "OH! And when we go to Zambia we're going to be filming in... and, "In BAD T!MING, there's this one part where... "

My friend and I couldn't stop talking about the films I AM WORKING ON. For every question he asked, I had an exciting answer and this web site for VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION. The more excited I got, the more excited he got ... which got me more excited. As soon as I dropped him off, I searched frantically through my music to find the perfect song that could keep up with my adrenalin rush (Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song won out). I cranked up the volume and screamed. I cheered! I was and am on cloud 9.

The story (BAD T!MING) is great, the cause is perfect, the drive behind the team is fantastic! What an amazing opportunity.

July 20, 2006

Stabilizing Our Shots

steadycam.jpgBY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE AZ - We are less than three weeks away from leaving for Zambia. I feel a lot of things about that but mostly excitement. I'm a little nervous, but nothing big. We have a ton of support from around here in the states and back in Zambia. It's up to us to not let them down. We have a great script, lots of talent, awesome teamwork and very dedicated producer/directors. We're all putting in 110% to make these two films their absolute best. Unfortunately, we don't have quite enough funding for EVERYBODY to go yet. But with all the support and light shining on this project, I believe things will work out.

I found a website about how to make a $14 steady cam. A steady cam is a series of tubes and counter weights held together by just a few nuts and bolts. Incredibly easy to make and highly effective. It helps stabalize your shots and also makes walking with a camera very smooth. Movement enhances the viewer's enjoyment of nearly all films. Documentary filmmaking doesn't always allow time to stablize yourself when you have to follow somebody. This little steady cam will really help me while I'm shooting the documentary VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION.

Another plus, it's small enough to fit easily in our luggage. The website shows you how to make a steady cam for a small, miniDV camera. Those cameras are much lighter than the SONY HVR-Z1U we're using. So I'll have to take that into consideration while making it. I'm going down to Home Depot this weekend to pick up the stuff. Then, I'll spend the rest of my time practicing.

July 12, 2006

Getting "B" Roll that Rocks

BY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE, ARIZONA, USA - Over that past weekend I had traveled down to Farmington, New Mexico, where I’m from to see my friends, family, and meet my new nephew before we leave for Africa. Of course, there was the usual support and excitement from those in town who knew about the trip. And shock from those who were hearing about it for the first time. “Africa?!?!” Yeah, Africa. It was fun passing out the web addresses for the film blogs and keeping everybody updated when I'd find out we were in the paper. TWICE while I was there.

kafuesky.jpgOn the 7-ish hour car ride back to Arizona, I thought about how amazing this will be. We’ve all worked hard and are preparing as much as we can to make the best films we can make. As I would look out the window at the scenery I’d ask myself, “Ok ... so how would you shoot that?” Granted New Mexico looks pretty much nothing like Africa at all. I want to make sure that the B-Roll I shoot looks great and is visually appealing. Zambia is already a beautiful place from what I read, see and hear. So really part of the work is done for me. I’m in full film mode now, I just have to feel the shots. You can take a picture or point a camera at anything but if you really want to capture something meaningful and engage the audience, you have to feel the shot. There’s an immediate connection.

As soon as I drove back into town I went straight to our meeting for the film where we got to read the first 30 pages of the script, each person reading a different part. I couldn't be more excited. It’s just such a great story I didn't want to stop after just 30 pages. There's another 60 pages (I learned each page is a minute of film time and our film is 90 minutes). I'm looking forward to reading and starting to visualize the film. If we can all picture it, different angles and cuts then the actual filming should come a little easier.

This is going to be good.

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.

June 20, 2006

One Big Happy Family


BY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE, AZ, USA - We have a little more than a month left until we go and I still feel like I have a ton of things to do before I will be ready. On the top of the list is spending as much time with my family here in Arizona and the ones in New Mexico. Since I work mostly at nights when everybody else is off, it's a little hard to find time. Unfortunately, I've had to miss the last two meetings and I feel bummed that I've been missing out on so much important info. And also the group picture.As you can see I stuck myself in using Photoshop. I'm starting to get restless. I'm glad that there's still time to prepare and improve our skills and knowledge of film, however I am really anxious to do this.

I have such a strong feeling that my life will change with this trip and it feels like it's going to be such a big step in my life. I feel like I'm waiting for a giant tidal wave to hit. When I get back from Africa, my second oldest brother, Ryan, and his family (wife - Socilt, and beautiful daughter - Bella) will be relocated within the company to a very exotic place. It's one thing to be so far away from my family, some of whom I won't see again for a year or two, but it's another thing knowing that I will come out of this with such a strong bond between the crew and the Zambian people. Hopefully my newly aquired film family will help fill that void. Here we go!

EDITOR'S NOTE: The night the crew photo was taken, Robby had to work. Fortunately, he took computer digital editing classes so he was able to "join" the crew electronically.

June 01, 2006

Buy the ticket, take the ride

Zambian sunsetBY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE, ARIZONA, USA -In a little more than one month from now the adventure begins. I was in DC this week for a few days and I think being away from home for that short amount of time really let things finally sink in. It has finally become real to me that this is happening. Here we go. I have no doubt that the outcome of these films will be great, and give me such great experience. But I can't help but be a little nervous. Like when the roller coaster is climbing to the top of the peak. Every click more excitement builds. There's that nervous sweat, the clammy hands. The ride for us, the crew, has already started, and even though everything we have done to prepare for this has been tough and thrilling, it will be nothing compared to what we are all about to embark on. For the people in Zambia and for the ones back here in the states.

I used this trip as an opportunity to tell as many people as I could about the film and what we are doing. I told my taxi drivers, I went to the African art exhibit at the Smithsonian. And even if we weren't looking at Zambian art, I still took the opportunity to say ya know, I'm going to Africa next month. And the Zambian embassy! I didn't get to see it but I talked about how the Ambassador here in DC might be able to come to Mesa to talk to Jabbes and everyone at MCC.

I told everybody around me at the airport and on the plane. If the conversation wasn't going anywhere, I MADE it go in a direction that I could bring up the films. The more people I told and the more I wrote down the web addresses the more it sank in. On the plane I pictured flying to Africa. So so exciting. I thought the five hour plane ride home was long, How am I going to handle multiple flights to another side of the world?? But it will be worth it.

These films are such a big deal, and I feel everybody in the world needs to hear about them. Not only hear about them but I want them to see it and grasp a better understanding of Zambia. Away from the stereotypes. All we can do is keep working hard and keep preparing for the Ride to begin. And thank God for Mesa Community College and a man called Jabbes.

May 28, 2006

I Am Completely At Their Service

partyrobby.jpgBY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE, USA - Saturday night, Cyndi had a party at her place for the crew and their friends and family. I had to work so I arrived late. The party was a bonding opportunity for the crew. Cyndi also had people capturing the event for the documentary. I was barely in the door when Shawn started interviewing me about the trip. He asked me for my name and my role. My name was easy, the role was harder. I love editing (and Cyndi tells me I'm pretty good at it) so I may be editing some of the press bites while I'm there. I think it's more likely that I'll be doing a million different jobs, whichever job needs to be done in the moment to get BAD TIMING in the can. I'll be carrying lights, holding microphones, running the "B" camera. As I see it, my job is whatever job they put me on.

I remember when Cyndi told our class that she was producing a film in Zambia. She showed Jabbes digital story and brought him to our class. I begged her to be part of the trip. I had no shame. I had only the desire to participate on this film. I love filmmaking and had done a lot of broadcast work in New Mexico. I just had to be there.

I'm not as good with words as some of the crew. I'm a doer, not a talker. And, I will do whatever she tells me to do and I will do it to the absolute best of my ability. She and Jabbes can count on me to give my heart, body and soul to these two films. I've been reasearching constantly since I heard I might be able to go. I'm trying to make myself as skillfully rounded as possible so I can be whatever this film needs whenever this film needs it.

For me, BAD TIMING and VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION aren't just a couple of independent films and we are not just a passionate, new crew. This opportunity is the right starting point and best path for rest of my life. And we are one big family.
We're all so excited.

May 21, 2006

Robby Brown, You're crazy

BY ROBBY BROWN, TEMPE, USA - I never used to write a blog because I never really had anything to say. But now, I actually have A LOT to say. I'm a generally a happy person. But for the past while, I have been incredibly happy. Excited about life, about anything. And I'm sure some of my friends find it irritating and think I'm a jerk.

But it's ok. The thought of what's going on with the films and Zambia gives me goosebumps. I really cannot describe how I'm feeling exactly. I can dance for ya, I can smile, but my verbal motor's broken. We aren't just making a movie. We might be helping to change peoples' lives. And a country. This is crazy.

I was with my friend earlier in the week, and I was telling her about getting my shots, which ones I need, how much it will cost (a lot) and what they are for. When I listed off a very long list of what all could happen to me she said, "Robby Brown, You're crazy." And I am! Maybe we all have to be a little bit crazy to be doing what we're going to be doing. I'm nervous. But it's a nervous excitement. Like when my friends and I used to strap firecrackers to G.I. Joes. The excitement and hint of danger.

We have to sign Assumption of Risk forms that tell us there is a chance we could get sick and/or hurt. It even says there is a chance we might not make it back at all. Call me crazy but THAT'S PART OF WHAT MAKES IT SO EXCITING. To know that we're making the choice to risk it all to do something, learn something and make a difference.

I am so very grateful for this opportunity. It is no doubt going to change my life. And the whole idea of how freakin' big this is, is crazy. There's those goosebumps.