The Power of Film

Whenever I’m having a really bad day, when something sends me into a tailspin, the one thing I’ve ever found that can always pull me out of it is finding another story (other than my own) to watch on screen. Throughout my entire life, I’ve found regular escape in movies and shows that help me see something beyond my world, beyond my misery, and give me the strength to face my own.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Angelina Jolie once said that “Film can… send strong messages.” Or as Charlie Rose said, “… uniquely be able to tell their own stories.”

And now as fortune and fate would have it, I’ve found an occupation that lets me send my own messages and tell my own stories, and in turn create and produce for other people that which has so often rescued me. It’s a greater honor than I could have ever asked for, and has brought me a greater sense of purpose and passion in life.

This film, Death Grip, is so much of that rolled into one project – my first bold step into this new arena of fulfillment and validation that couldn’t possibly have come from anywhere else. This is my dream, what for so long has given me dreams and pulled me out of nightmares – and it’s coming true!

I can understand if you are skeptical of my enthusiasm, or think perhaps I’m celebrating a little too early. Sure the film hasn’t been finished yet, and we still have a long road of post-production and distribution ahead of us. But what’s important is knowing that I’m on my way there, and knowing what experience I’ve already been fortunate to have. I’d still feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and I’d still feel like I’m living my dream, even if this film never makes it to market – because I know it’s not going to end there. I’ve only just begun this journey, and I intend to continue embracing it and keep making movies until I physically can’t anymore.

I hope you can relate to what I’m saying, even a little bit, or at least believe in what I’m doing. Because that says something about what all of us (you included) are capable of doing. If I can live my dream, and get to give back what has given me so much, then you certainly can too. And I do hope you are as fortunate to find the path that truly fulfills you and makes you feel excited to go to work every day.

Sound too good to be true?

Well guess what? It isn’t! Or at least it wasn’t for me.

No, for me, it was the power of film that fulfilled my dream, and helped me realize the power in me.

A Little Bit of Mystery

This thing we call life. It’s all such a mystery, isn’t it? I took this monstrous step and am now attempting to tame the wild beast that is both within me and in the nature of life itself.

It’s a couple of chess pieces inching across the board; it’s a set of hieroglyphs scrawled on a cave wall; it’s a car careening around the bend on a mountain pass; it’s the part of the story where the plot congeals and takes some totally unexpected turn and (… wait, what am I reading again?); it’s a hat on a peg in a dark corridor…

It’s the point where it’s hard to tell where the plot is heading – though who’s to say if we’ll ever really know. The world can be a very mystifying setting, and the journey an unpredictable narrative, where mysteries unfold and anything can happen.

It was in this mystical realm that I attempted the unthinkable… to step away from all structure and certainty, and fervently take on the unknown beast, leaving all future possibilities to fate’s mischievous disposition.

It’s a little bit like life-noir. I’m walking the streets of San Francisco as a dark misty fog starts rolling in around me, and somewhere Dick Tracy’s voice is saying:

It’s a big world you know… I was beginning to wonder, what was I waiting for? A nice, safe desk?

And there I am, in my trench coat and fedora, scanning the streets suspiciously for a sign. I’m searching for something that seems to be calling me through the fog. I can’t see it, but I know it’s out there, waiting for me to make it through the dubious forecast and into my future.

In this business there’s only one law you gotta follow… Do it first, do it yourself, and keep on doing it.

Action-Oriented

I’ve always been a get-shit-done kinda girl. I don’t waste time. Life’s too short. No reason to dilly dally or beat around the bush. I’m like Nike – I just do it

I learned in making my massive career change last March that bold steps can be rewarded boldly. I learned that sometimes the best therapy is just having the courage to share all that crap bottled up inside of you out with people who care around you. It’s not healthy to keep it locked up inside, doing nothing but stewing and simmering dangerously.

It takes action to make any kind of progress. Writing in this blog has taught me that. Sharing with you all has taught me that. And living my life the way I have, and the way I intend to keep living, has taught me that. It’s made me a stronger and more reliable partner to work with. And I feel stronger and happier when I’m being productive, so it’s a win-win.

How perfect then that I now get to put that tenacity towards creating even more action I can share with the rest of the world. I’m using my action-oriented nature to productively produce great action films that can move & inspire others. A beautiful complimentary combination, I think.

I’m action-oriented. I’m a get-it-out, get-it-done kinda gal. And now I get to say I get-it-on-film too.

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Happy Habits

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. -Abraham Lincoln

I was talking to a good friend recently about all the goodness and new life happiness I’ve been exploring and developing over the past year. And as he shared his own similar quest, he mentioned his own journey to identify and implement what he called “happy habits.” What a great way to name it!

We all have the negative self-talk and some of us (like me) have an even more frequent propensity to get ourselves stuck in depressing trains of thought. So this practice can be beneficial for anyone, and especially valuable for folks like me who need that constant reminder of the good things in our lives that DO make us happy.

Here are a few “happy habits” I’ve discovered for myself:

1.Take care of your body and health first and foremost! This has been a tough lesson for me, having a tendency to prioritize all the tasks and to-do’s I have on my plate before I take time to relax. Throughout my life, this has meant inconsistent sleep schedules and unhealthy eating habits – often going an entire day without eating anything! But the truth is the healthier and happier we are, the more efficient and effective we can be. So I’ve learned to put this at my highest priority now, and make sure I stick to regular & healthier meals and a more consistent & complete sleep schedule.

2. Along those same lines, exercise exercise exercise! For me particularly, I never feel so alive as when I’m pushing my physical limits. So a trip to the gym or my regular stunt trainings are the perfect happy moments for me. But even if you’re not an adrenaline junky like me, you can still reap great rewards from breaking a little sweat. It’s amazing for your health & longevity, and who doesn’t feel happy when they’re in shape? Best of all, exercise gives you endorphins, which is essentially the happy brain chemical.

3. Spend more time with friends and family whose love and good opinion you seek. Of course I have members of my family and certain “friends” that haven’t been a positive force or energy in my life – so those aren’t the people I’m talking about. It’s been hard to learn how to spend less of my energy worrying about those relationships and focusing more on the uplifting ones. But it does make a difference, so it is definitely worth it!

4. Spend more time outdoors! It’s no secret that being around nature has a calming and soothing effect on people. Especially if you’re a wilderness lover like myself, you can’t go wrong with a quick trip to the park or beach. And if you can’t pull yourself away long enough for something like that, then at least get off your butt and go stand outside your office. Take a few deep breaths and just feel the sunlight on your face. If that doesn’t perk you up, I don’t know what will.

5. Take time to stop and reflect on the good in your life, and appreciate the little things. I’ve started a new practice inspired by my roommate. At the end of every day, he and I will tell each other what 3 things we are most grateful for from that day. It really is a lovely way to remind ourselves of the good things we have in our life. It’s even started to get us in the habit of looking out for those good things throughout the day, so we can remember to name them later that night.

6. Take an active role in something you believe in, be it a cause, an organization, a project or other creative outlet. I’ve found possibly the greatest source of happiness in my life from changing to a career that hits at the core of my passion – filmmaking and stunt acting. By getting to do what I love everyday, I’ve become so much more of a content and fulfilled person than I ever thought possible.

7. Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Forget all the hype about being “well-rounded”. That’s all really just a bunch of hooey. The smarter approach is to develop the skills you are already naturally good at, to build your marketability and appeal as an “expert”, rather than slave away at areas you don’t already shine in or enjoy. A community doesn’t thrive by having a whole lot of people who are all somewhat good at everything, but rather by having individuals who are each very good at different roles. So focus on things that utilize your strengths, and I guarantee you’ll have a better time doing them.

The Search for The Female Stunt Actor

I went and saw “Haywire” today, and I’m sorry to say I was very disappointed. Despite hearing reports of weak fight scenes and uninspired acting, I still had my hopes.

You see, I’ve been waiting for a film like this for a while – an action film with a female in the starring role who is played by a woman that can both act and do all her own action… essentially a female stunt actor. We’ve learned through the many eras of male action leads that the only true successful “stunt actors” are those who start out as fighters and then learn to act. It’s much harder to have an actor learn how to do all those complex and dangerous stunts themselves, which is why most all actors have stunt doubles. Even today, as more actors are starting to do some of their own stunts, they still leave the really complicated stuff to the professionals.

But a stunt person who can also act? Now that’s something, and very highly in demand. Directors and fight choreographers alike love it because they don’t have to restrict the camera movement for fight scenes in order to hide a stunt double. Producers love it because it saves money – not needing to hire a separate stunt man. And audiences love it because it’s cool to know that guy did all his own stunts. That’s why Jackie Chan became such a household name – that and because he was GOOD.

But we’ve yet to see a strong example of this from a female. And now as martial arts become more universally acceptable and understandable, and the market for female fighters on screen grows, I think it’s about time we had one.

This is why I had hopes for “Haywire,” and particularly for Gina Carano. She has the right background – a long time MMA star who can really fight and just needed to add the acting component.

But alas, “Haywire” was not going to give her that opportunity. Granted it wasn’t all her fault. The story lacked originality, the writing lacked emotion, and the characters lacked depth. So she didn’t have much to work with anyway. But then you could tell just how uneasy she was on camera, which made her seem very stiff and one-dimensional, very hard to relate to or care much about.

So another hope dashed. I guess I will just have to wait for another chance to see a good female stunt actor take the lead. Or I’ll just have to do it myself! 🙂

My 2012 Passages

I recently wrote a post on my Chaos Whisperer blog about setting and sticking to your 2012 resolutions. I shared my top 10 tactics for setting up your goals for success and actually seeing them through. And in the process, I shared my own personal 10 goals for this year. So then the thought occurred to me, why don’t I share them here? This is after all my personal blog and personal record of my life’s passages and progressions. So it would probably be a good idea to lay out the plans I’ve prepared to pursue my chosen passages for this year.

Here are my 2012 resolutions:

  1. Reorganize my work spaces for greater productivity & creativity.
  2. Clear the clutter in my life (literally & figuratively) and seriously question the value add of any new purchase.
  3. Consolidate all my finances and investments under one easily managed roof.
  4. Commit to a healthier sleep schedule to address my insomnia.
  5. Regiment my workout routine, train harder and more consistently to master new martial arts/acrobatics/stunt fighting skills.
  6. Blog weekly (The Chaos Whisperer every Wed) and make regular writing time to develop other stories & ideas.
  7. Dive further into mastering my film producer role and seek guidance from more experienced producers.
  8. Learn to forgive the patterns of my past & accept the new challenges of building a lasting & loving partnership with someone.
  9. Find greater comfort in silence, and appreciate not just the words of others, but also the space between them.
  10. Ensure that each new Chaos-balancing system I create owns my unique voice and celebrates (rather than suppresses) my free spirit and authentic self.

These are my goals for the year: what I want to accomplish, how I plan to live more intentionally, and ways I can achieve greater balance with my Chaos.

Want to tell me yours?

Staying Ahn Beat

The me from a year ago might not recognize the me of today. My closest friends continue to remind me of how material a change they’ve seen me undergo in the last year or so. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come, and where I used to be.

For nearly all of my life prior to this massive change, I had a hard time facing my reality, and didn’t yet understand how to take control of my life. I am one of those people who lives to work  and needs to feel that I’m living fully at all times. And when my current employment didn’t give me that satisfaction, I had to find it elsewhere. So I had a lot of outlets, and I needed them.

Perhaps the most prominent outlet I’ve had for the majority of my life was writing poetry. It’s what got me through the first rough patch in junior high, and everyday afterwards. At first, they weren’t very good poems or very well kept – scribbled on loose paper and shoved into one giant red binder. But over time I developed a voice, a style, and a better system. Eventually, they found their way onto blog I now call Ahn Beat.

.

I started this blog a few years ago, both to transfer those old cherished poems from their pages as well as continue to share more. And up until a year ago, I continued to write new content pretty regularly.

But here is the interesting part – I haven’t actually written a new poem in about a year.

I guess you could say this new life I’ve found, this new path I’m pursuing with all my heart and soul, is giving me the greatest outlet I could have ever imagined. And now I don’t need to write poetry anymore. Oh I still love the art of it, and may yet write more from time to time. But I don’t need it like I used to. And that feels pretty damn good.

I guess you could say I’ve found a new way to keep myself Ahn Beat.

Chaos is the Mother of Invention

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well if you think about it, what creates the necessity for change, for improvement, for invention? I’d say it is Chaos which first makes the mess that then creates this need. And so it would follow that Chaos is in fact the true origin of invention.

I do believe Chaos should be given more due respect that perhaps people give it now. But that doesn’t mean it should be allowed to run rampant through our lives as much as it pleases. Given its way entirely, Chaos is capable of doing great damage and bringing great danger. So it deserves great respect, but it does require a bit of control.

A dear friend once told me that you must first build deep structure in order to hold deep Chaos. Honestly, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with structure. On one hand, I do have a natural tendency to organize things, as well as to always expect the worst, so it is reassuring to have a plan in place and anticipate something of what the future will hold. But on the other hand, I desperately love change and crave the feeling of adventure that comes with mystery and spontaneity. Perhaps my greatest fear is becoming numb to my surroundings and too comfortable in routine. So I very frequently have these very strong urges to do something crazy that changes my structure in a very real way.

This is my Chaos, and it keeps things interesting. Without it, my life would be significantly less thrilling and less creative. Without it, I’d still be in that comfortable corporate bubble, with little ambition or mind to break out of the norm and carve my own path. Without it, I would be nowhere near where I am today, building the very picture of my life’s dream. I’d be nothing like the person I am today.

In fact, I imagine that most of you would also be nothing like the incredible and unique characters you each are. So it stands to reason that we should all feel some gratitude for the Chaos in our lives. That said, we must also recognize it’s limitations, and how to harness the power it gives without suffering from it’s distractions.

This is why I’ve started a new project called The Chaos Whisperer. It’s something inherent in everyone’s life, and I fear that too many of today’s experts encourage methods that try to ignore or even destroy your Chaos, rather than understand and utilize it. Chaos can be a powerful force in the effective evolution of your life’s goals, if only you can properly embrace and empower it.

I’ve been fortunate to find balance with my Chaos, and now I want to help other people do the same with theirs, to seize its full potential and see what great results can come of it. This project may have been born out my Chaos’ desperate urge to try something new, but it was also born out of a necessity to address this lacking perspective I’ve observed.

If you agree with any of what I’m saying, or feel the necessity for a new approach to your own life’s Chaos, I encourage you to check out my new The Chaos Whisperer blog and follow me on Facebook. And if we’re lucky, maybe we can help you build the deep structure necessary to hold all your Chaos.

Thank you and a Chaotically beautiful day to you!

A Dream In Need

I hate to admit it, but I’m scared. I’ve been telling you all about my new indie action film Rise And Fail, the dream I had to take a huge leap of faith to realize. Well we’re in post-production now, and basically out of money! I’ve been desperately trying to raise the rest of the necessary funding, but we are still at least $10,000 short. And that’s no easy sum to come by.
We did recently launch a new Kickstarter campaign, with the hope that folks will indulge their holiday giving spirit and contribute to this remarkable breakthrough film. But we are already 17 days the campaign (out of 60 days, or 28% through), and have raised barely 8% of our goal! So you can understand why I’m starting to panic.
I’ve put my heart & soul (not to mention sweat & tears) into this film. And in return, it has given me the truest sense of fulfillment I’ve ever known in my life, and could ever dream of. So it would literally break my heart to see it fail. I do fully intend to do everything in my power to see this thing through, but I cannot do it alone.
And so it is that I place my dream in the hands of you all — my friends, family and readers. If you’ve already donated, please know that your contribution is immensely appreciated. But if you haven’t yet had the chance to give, or feel inspired to give more, please know that you’ll supporting more than just a film — but also a revolutionary action film movement, a dream, and me.
Plus you’ll earn awesome rewards in return such as signed copies of the DVD, tickets to the Bay Area premiere, and even a private 1 hour martial arts lesson, all of which would make excellent gifts, for either someone else or yourself (I won’t tell).
I do appreciate all the love and support I’ve received thus far, and I hope you will help me finish making my dream a reality.
Thank you dearly. Rebecca.

To Get Away

I re-watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” the other day, and as usual, found myself moved to emulate the main character’s courageous journey. I often dream of traveling to some distant exotic place like Italy and languishing in luxury for a few months, or maybe even a year. But if I do that, I don’t want to let myself become another one of those hopelessly lost dreamers, caught up in the romance of her 20’s, wandering aimlessly through the streets of Paris. I want to have purpose when I go abroad, and everywhere else I am in my life. Wherever I may roam, I want to know why I’m going there.

I do often find myself romanticizing the idea to get away from it all, to up and leave life behind, and just disappear for a while. And while this is always a tempting proposition, I don’t think I could actually do that unless it meant something completely differently. I don’t want to “get away” from it all as a means of escape, but perhaps as a means of getting closer to it all – taking the opportunity to get closer to myself while seeing more of what the world has to offer. If that is the goal, then yes, I do think I could just get up and leave and go exploring.

There’s so still much out there to explore, and still yet so much inside of me unexamined. It could be considered a journey of similar proportions just to “get away” from that which I’ve come to know in myself, and trespass through the parts of me I’ve not yet dared enter. This is almost harder to do than getting up and leaving the country. And it can be just as rewarding.

Life is a journey, and sometimes that journey manifests itself as a mental rather than a physical one. I do look forward to getting away and seeing more of the world someday. But in the meantime, I think I will set my sights on a destination a bit closer to home that equally aches to beheld.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries