Monday, June 28, 2010

Dolly Dazzle

It happened in slow motion and yet was over in a flash. Everything was a blur and yet each moment was vividly sharp.

It's two days after the fact, and I'm still absorbing the very real and yet entirely surreal experience of meeting Dolly Parton.

She is everything people say she is - engaging, unpretentious, generous. A superstar with all the approachability of a good friend.

But don't worry, I didn't let that get in the way of my being star-struck! I think I may even have uttered the word "icon" at some point...

Will post photos and a little account of how it went down with the great Dolly Parton at the hospitable Sound Kitchen studios in Nashville, Tennessee this week - all the while rushing like a madwoman to get our "first cut" ready for the investors' screening in exactly ONE WEEK!

Go, Team J-F!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello Dolly!

Before I can indulge in looking back on the whole complex experience of shooting a first feature, I need to chronicle for you what's coming up just around the corner...! And believe me, it's a doozy!

For the next little while here on the blog, I thought I'd be mostly just waxing nostalgic on the shoot and counting down the nail-bitingly few number of days until we have to present a strong "first cut" of the film to all our important investors and partners - all of whom have a big say in what they see - a high-pressure event which is scheduled, in a by the way, just two weeks from tomorrow!

But I am instead, now counting down the THREE measly days until I - little Tara Johns from Canada - will be meeting, face-to-face, the one and the very only, Dolly Parton!!! In Nashville, y'all. Not to mention, "directing" Miss Parton in her cameo for my humble film!

I was already a mild wreck contemplating this auspiciously surreal occasion - wondering things like, what's the protocol here? Do I curtsy? Bow? Do I take a gift? If so, what does one even give a dynasty? Can I ask for her autograph? On what part of my body?, etc. - and then Barbara called and said, "But what are you going to wear???"

Oh, god.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wall to Wall Wonders!

Well, okay, not quite wall to wall - there's still plenty of work to do! But, honestly, my virgin screening of Jean-François' well-built "first assembly" was - ... well, the only word I have for it is:


In fact, screening the 2hour 4minute foundation of what will become my finished film was far, far more energizing than these last two weeks of "vacation" I just put myself through! Yup, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Hallelujah, we're making a movie again!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


A kind of the best way I can describe my state of body and mind these two weeks following the official (or at least, ornothological) wrap of shooting our film.

I've had a generalized feeling of being completely emptied out that's actually allowed me to almost float through this recommended break from filmmaking without (very much) nagging guilt about what I should be doing next.

Today, however, it's time to snap out of that blissful ignorance, for the next phase has officially begun: Editing.

Even while we were shooting, Jean-François Bergeron - editor extraordinaire - was assembling the scenes. And this afternoon, for the first time ever, I will be able to sit down and look at the film, put together, from A to Z according to the script. No art, though. Just the bare, unflinching facts.

From all accounts, this part is hard on us director types. Because this is the moment we are faced, not with the "aspirational" version of the film we've been carrying around in our heads and hearts this whole time, but with what really "is". With what is our new reality. This, from now on, is all there is. Every frame of the film we've ACTUALLY made is all there - in its most raw, gangly and un-finessed state. Warts, wonders and all.

I'm secretly expecting there to be way more wonders than warts, but we'll see!

And then the real work begins after that.

I know I've been M.I.A. during the really exciting part - the shoot - and that I'm now back in the blogosphere just in time for one of the more tedious spectator sports to begin - the editing - , but I fully intend to use this next phase to work backwards - to get all nostalgic on your ass and write a bit of a reflective account on what shooting my first (and I'm currently using that term loosely) feature film was like.

Oh, and I'll be sure to throw in the occasional real-time account of any notable events as they happen - like my upcoming trip to Nashville to meet the one and only Dolly Parton!

Stay tuned...