Friday, December 31, 2010

There & Back Again - Good bye 2010, Hello 2011!

A blogspot by MJ Slide that has absolutely nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit. Ok maybe not nothing. Both those books were about strenuous and exciting journeys their protagonists embarked on and successfully completed. The year 2010 would be considered such a journey for me as both a creative, be it filmmaking, writing or photography to simply the bare bones of growing up. It's been painful, gut wrenching, exhilarating, confusing, magical, nonsensical, and pretty much the most epic year of my life.

I feel funny typing that because after all I'm only 18. 18 years on this dear earth isn't very long at all, but conversing with a screenwriting friend of mine a couple days ago affirms the idea in my mind that as much as years are counted by those around you, they don't really count. It's an issue of growth and how willing one is to being open to change, getting beyond our boxes because we all  known we have  them. I may be known as MJ Slide: The Filmmaker, but what about MJ Slide: The Screenwriter, MJ Slide: The Photographer,  MJ Slide:The nutty teenage girl who drinks too much coffee, loves passionately, and gets herself into heaps of trouble?

Its not right for me to not cultivate every facet of my personality. I can't stand to read one dimensional characters in books or screenplays even if that character's one dimension may be relatively interesting. Why would I ever wanna be that type of person? I sit here at 2:30 AM in the morning typing away and I realize I'm truly giddy for 2011 to roll around. The prospect of a new year with new challenges burns in my blood. I cannot WAIT to take it on! I have ideas of what it might hold but then again, ideas are so very different from manifold truth. Obviously this blog post should be a balance between reflection and expectation for the future but honestly, I've spent some much time reflecting this year, over both mistakes and triumphs I'm merely going to focus on what comes next.

So what does come next for MJ Slide?

On Monday I begin my final semester of High School (scary thought!) which includes sending out more college applications, getting a job, (and my darn license finally) and that's just my life, what about my work? I've got big plans (of course I have big plans, I'm a dreamer) THE SAVING premiere is still locked for February 5th and then its off to the Festivals for us. While my mind and heart are still very much emotionally entwined with this film I'm looking ahead. Stories brewing in the all the recesses of my mind, romantic comedies, sci-fi period thrillers, and straight up horror films. I'm hoping to bang two shorts this year and start working toward my very first feature length film. While the buzz word phrase for 2010 was "We're Making a Movie Yo" 2011 will be "No Boxes for you!" (yes I watch Seinfeld)

That phrase has so many different implications but the gist is this, I will not put myself in a box, as a person, friend, daughter, lover, enemy, artist, woman, and I refuse to do the same to others. I have so much to learn, I can't let the walls of presumptions or lack of understanding mess things up for me and other people I care about. I won't do it perfectly, I've quite thoroughly stomped on my perfectionist nature (without lowering my high standards.

2011 will be about refining, keeping an open mind, and continuing to test my limits. No wonder I'm stoked about the coming 12 months :D Part of me has all these plans but another part of me bangs on the side of my head and says "Yo MJ, your plans rarely turn out the way you want em to, so WHAT'S THE USE!?" Its true in one sense, I believe there's a stark difference between goals and plans. Either way, I'll embrace spontaneity, questions that don't have answers, and people who are way smarter then I am.

So look out 2011, I'm all in and it's gonna blow even this past year out of the water. No doubt about that.

PS. The photos included in this blog post were taken by the amazing up coming photographer Hannah Nett. I'll be posting links to her work as soon as she gets her official site up. This girl is one to watch :D

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dug some BTS footage outa the archives for you guys to take a looksy at.  Death should never be taken lightly but you gotta keep things on set chill, esp if you happen to be on a sidewalk, in downtown greenville, with some teenage girl splayed all awkward like 8 stories below a parking garage.

RANDOM FACT: The fake blood was mint flavored but the bottle said "Do Not Ingest." Ok cause that makes sense. :D

Thursday, December 16, 2010

TV Interview Yo!

Wed. morning dawned bright and freakishly cold. It might have had something to do with the fact my interview outfit was a dress and ballet flats opposed to the t-shirt, blazer, skinnies and converses like I wanted to wear but ya know, lets not get into that shall we :)

Anyhow, THE SAVING cast and crew were invited onto the set of a local talk show that shoots in the downtown area of  Greenville to talk about the film. I can't decide what was more fun, waiting off set creating new gang signs and cracking up at Jack Roeper's fantastic red pants, the interview itself where i was called age 16, 17, and 18 all in like 30 seconds, THE SAVING was mistaken for a play, or the fact that I was sitting with two of my favorite people in the world (Patrick and Stephanie) and we were on TELEVISION chatting up our film! It was all very nutty, and very enjoyable.

We got a chance to hang out and vlog before hand (pardon the random cut off, the battery died) at the exact coffee shop in the exact corner where we held Patrick's audition a good 6 months ago. How time flies.

All and all, more memories were formed, I've decided I'm gonna add producing a TV show to my list of things I will accomplish before bailing out of Greenville and once again it was reaffirmed I work with the most amazing group of people and I am one truly blessed Director.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Survivor (We did it!)

Yay! I wasn't voted off the island and we raised a whooping sum of money through indiegogo. I'll blog in more depth after I finally catch up on sleep and begin to enjoy my Christmas vacation.


Friday, December 10, 2010


 59 hours. Only $440 to reach our desired goal. MJ gives a shoutout in the 78 backers of the film who have stepped and supported her dreams!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Lets Talk

These two words seemed to be the theme of the my podcast with the every enjoyable and very talented screenwriter Justin W. Hedges. We sat down Saturday afternoon to chat all things THE SAVING and more importantly THE SAVING's message of Hope for those struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. The biggest step into raising awareness is simply opening up and allowing for dialogue on the serious subject matter in a non judgmental and compassion manner.  Without it, individuals feel totally alone and left in their own darkness, falling prey to their own doubts and lies.

Justin is a real brick, we discussed at length the production process and the mentality I took as a Director to take my leads from characters to people.


Sunday, December 5, 2010


 There are a whole lotta things people will do in order to raise funds for their film. Getting a cherry pie facial is one of them :D

I can now check this off my life list of things to do. CHECK!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reflections Aren't just for Mirrors

I am my film. There is no way to separate the MJ Slide from The Saving. This film was written, and directed harnessing every part of my being.  I'm sure my Crew and Cast can attest to this.  Its about as personal as it gets. So many people have poured their hearts and souls into THE SAVING, it literally takes my breath away.

It ain't over till its over. We still need your help. We have 10 days to raise the remaining funds we need to complete this film, have it premiere and get it in the hands of people who need to hear and receive its message of Hope.

Two Thousand, two hundred, and 20 dollars. $2220. No matter how one writes it, it still feels like a daunting sum. I hate talking money, the wishful thinking part of me desires money to grow on trees so all us artists could go greenback picking in our front yards and not worry ourselves and other people with its abundance or lack thereof.

On December 12th when our indiegogo campaign officially wraps I will have plugged this film for a exactly 120 days.  Camped out in my office, on twitter, facebook, blogs, vimeo, youtube,  the local newspaper, podcasts and now on TV. Since I started this campaign, we've settled into our new house, two of my brothers have gotten married, I turned 18 and I've written four other shorts and almost completed two feature screenplays.

That's a lot of time and I'll confess, I honestly thought my passion for this project would have at some point become diminished or lackluster. I'm thrilled to say, its just the opposite. I am more on fire for this film and its message then I have ever been! I love all that I've learned from the experience of losing sleep, millions of rewrites, networking till my fingers and ears ache, crying over tough decisions I've had to make way beyond what's typical for my age, working with my uber talented crew/cast and waking up every morning knowing if I can complete this movie I have the opportunity to change lives for better. I don't say that flippantly at all, its a HUGE deal.

This past week I've spent a lot of time thinking about the people I've met, the experiences I've been able to have and what still have to look forward to. I'm only 18, I've got my whole life ahead me and I think I've got a pretty good start thanks to the support of my friends and family.

This post might have a bit of a wandering feel about it because, well my mind has wandered back to all the memories and relationships I've formed through this whole process. Everyone needs to take time to reflect, to consider and count their blessings, to sure up confidence for the days to come. I know I'm not alone. I know even if you we don't raise every last penny we desire to that we will still figure out a way to get this film on the big screen come Feb. And  I most assuredly know I don't regret a single minute of the past 10 months I've spent working on this film.

Its an investment to be sure, my Crew/Cast knows this, my family definitely knows this and so do THE SAVING indiegogo campaign Backers.  To the 67 people who have helped us raise $2,290 toward production and post production costs, THANK YOU! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I can't say it enough or express adequately how much your support means to me and everyone else whose a part of THE SAVING team.

A lot can happen in 10 days. A lot can change. I know three things will remain the same, my love for my family/friends/crew/cast, my passion and drive that is required to rock this film and the truth that filmmaking is what I wanna do with the rest of my life. Come what may.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dance Vlog YO!

For you Steph ;-)

(Thanks)giving Director's Vlog

November 24, 2010 
I have so much to be grateful for. This is only the tip of the iceberg but I want my peeps and every last fan of THE SAVING to know how much their constant support means to me. You guys ROCK!
I take a minute to sit down and thank all the fans of THE SAVING and my awesome Crew and Cast. Talking indiegogo fundraising campaign and your opp to attend THE SAVING premiere :D

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In a Small Way

Reaching out those who have lost loved ones to suicide. 

You are not alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just sooo Spot On!

I sincerely praying and plugging, this song needs to end up as part of THE SAVING official soundtrack. Friends of Emmet is brilliant and the lyrics couldn't be more perfect for the storyline of this film. Check out and see what you guys think!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pick Ups: Round 3

Well its a wrap. November 14th  around 5:30 I officially called the final take for THE SAVING. Its finally done. Every single shot, the whole gorram movie. Myself and the Second Unit Crew, all females (wacky fun!) headed back to the parking garage where we shot a large chunk of the film's main action sequence. It was weird to step back "on set",  a lot of memories flooded back and I was once again freshly reminded how much I love filmmaking.

Like the yin and yang bracelet Stephanie gave me for my birthday our two pick up shooting days, Saturday and Sunday couldn't have been more opposite.

Saturday was just straight up mind numbingly stressful. I  caught myself thinking "Really MJ, What the heck have you gotten yourself into!?" Definitely not uncommon to the experience of an indie filmmaking, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Tempers flared, feelings were hurt, schedules thrown out the window, shots had to be severally re-thought and loads of damage control Plan Bs put into action. Yet somehow at the end of the day we still got the shots we needed and nobody was dead. I call that a victory. I passed out on my still made bed around 2 am Sunday morning, my closing thoughts were simply prayers for peace and a better tomorrow.  My prayers were answered.

Literally I couldn't have asked for a more drastic up swing in productivity and morale. Sunday went off without a hitch. Got on set and our lovely make up and hair supervisor Carice Eastin gave Steph's hair a much needed trim for the sake of continuity ON TOP of a WINDY parking garage. Yes, she is just that awesome. And then we went and filmed. Banged out the shot list, few tweaks here and there, some coaching for the right emotional intensity but besides that things ran like a well oiled machine.It was all a little surreal.

Check out the Vlog below for more details on how Sunday really restored my heart and reminded that even with the ups and downs I still wouldn't wanna be doing anything else with my life.

Dated November 14th, 2010
Pick ups, rather fantastic gory death shots, partying old school at my place with my film peeps and closest friends for my 18th birthday. Nov. 14th was a very successful day for me and the cast/crew of THE SAVING. Talking Picks Ups shots, artistic vision, publicity stunts, and why Stephanie should most definitely die in all the films she's cast in. She's really getting way too good at it. I think the best part was she ended up texting between takes while covered in blood. We make our own fun and it amuses me. :D


1. Stuff falls out apart. It just does. Learn to pick up the pieces, pull up your bootstraps, lean on those who care about you and put one foot in front of the other. It does get better.

2. I will try my best to retain the tradition of consuming at least a double shot of espresso on set. Cause, you know, I'm all about traditions :D

3. My Crew/Cast have to be some of the most loving caring people a person could find themselves working with. I'm greatly blessed to able to have them be a part of my life.

4. I'm very much indebted to my mother for teaching me great photo composition. Her mentorship is a direct reflection of my shooting style.

5. Anything can be a publicity stunt. Use your blood covered female lead wisely and you might just secure yourself a some new Indiegogo backers. That and its wacky fun.

IN CONCLUSION: Filmmaking. Hell one day. Not so much the next. It flip-flops but I still love it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Director's Vlog (Episode 2)

Dated November 7th. 2010

So whatya guys think of the new haircut?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Its a Holiday!

Otherwise known as International Shamelessly Plug The Saving Day!! In honor of the momentous occasion and the release of THE SAVING rough cut I give you MJ Slide's "Happy Nerd Dance" :D :D

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Then just a Movie

My desire from the very get-go of embarking on this journey of writing and directing "THE SAVING" was I sincerely wanted this film to be about more then just two characters and their struggles. I wanted it to step beyond that, to grab the audience by their heads and their hearts, not only making them think but motivating them to act.  Film is such a powerful medium and can effect people in a deeply personal way. THE SAVING has already wholly changed my life and I'm pretty sure its safe to say its also changed Stephanie's. lesser words, I got my wish. THE SAVING has stepped beyond MJ Slide & Co. and its pretty much the coolest feeling ever. All thanks to the awesome folks over at I stumbled upon this website a few months ago right before THE SAVING went into Principle Photography and its been on my radar ever since. Reach Out is a website designed specifically as a safe haven for teens and young adults to find people who understand the tough situations in life they're going through. A place where one can open up and not worry about the judgmental eyes, ears, and mouths of those who wear their ignorance and malice on their sleeves or simply just don't  give a flip. One of their central focuses is dealing with heart wrenching rate of teen suicide in this modern day and age. Its more then just a number but the number in itself is staggering. From ages 14-25 the third leading cause of death is suicide.

Get "THE FACTS" here. Ignorance can no longer be our excuse. 

We must do our part to make a difference and that's exactly what myself and the cast and crew of THE SAVING plan on doing. I decided after much consideration that as a key bonus feature on THE SAVING DVD my team and I are were going to put together a documentary short film companion piece about teen suicide in the United States, covering all the angles. Those who have lost loves ones, considered suicide themselves, survived suicide attempts and those on the forefront, the families, counselors, psychologists and best friends who are fighting back, lighting up the darkness.

You can learn more about the the documentary below in the my latest vlog and what you can do to help support both this endeavor and all of those who are partnering together to raise awareness about teen suicide in their communities and all over the US and the world.


Friday, October 22, 2010



SYNOPSIS: The final psychological evaluation leaves Doctor Amanda Allen at a loss for what to do.

Is Skye telling the truth? What's really brewing in her mind as she gets ready to reenter the real world? Has she mended her way?

Looking back on this whole experience we really did make it as accurate as we possibly could. Both Apryl and Stephanie really poured all of themselves into these Sessions and its seriously paid off. I hope you as the viewers pull as much from these segments as I have, not only from the talent displayed on screen but also a better understanding of who Skye really is and how she operates.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ya The Play's The Thing! (So you should go see it)

A Review of Robin Hood: The Next Generation

Performed by the Greer Children's Theatre
Directed by Mr. Kevin Treu

I feel it's important to clarify a few things before I get into the meat of this review. First off, I'm not a theatre person, at all. Simply not my cup of tea. Second, I like comedies even less, with the exception of Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare. Don't get me wrong, I love a good laugh but its gotta be good. None of this halfsy stuff. So when I say I sincerely enjoyed Robin Hood: The Next Generation (RHNG) you can understand the full weight of my meaning.

Now one deserves a bit of insight into the premise.

Things are definitely changing in Sherwood Forest. Sir Robin Hood and Lady Marian have been married for 20 years and their beautiful daughter, Robin, is about to come of age. The Queen has selected the young woman to succeed her to the throne but insists she first must be wed to a man of royal lineage. Being a woman of the next generation, Robin naturally resents being married off so quickly without some romance. So she devises a clever contest in which the best archer and swordsman shall win her hand. Robin convinces her maid to stand in for her while she herself dresses as a man to compete and win the contest to prove her point. And after living her whole life in the forest, winning won't be hard to do!

Meanwhile, the young male contenders have plans of their own. Prince Jared resents being forced into the competition since he, too, wants to marry for love and so convinces his manservant to switch places with him. Other contenders include comic princes Harold and Gerald, poor Prince Rodney the Regrettable, and wimpy Lord Horvath, whose mother (Lady Vendola) has evil plans for usurping the throne.

Needless to say it sounds rather like a Shakespearean comedy does it not and in some senses it plays out (pun intended) similarly to what the Bard could have penned. Much mishap and confusion over switched identities and misunderstood affections. With a healthy dose of modern pop culture references scattered throughout, RHNG succeeds in amusing a wide range of audience members, from young children to adults.

Robin, the lovely leading lady at the helm of this two hour romp in and around the woods of Sherwood Forest is played by none of the other then THE SAVING's female lead Stephanie Ibboston. As her film Director it was refreshing to see Stephanie take the stage with a more lighthearted personality and it also reaffirmed my belief that this girl can play any character she sets her mind to and knock the thing out of the park.

Thankfully Ibboston's stellar portrayal of the head strong yet endearing daughter of England's favorite folk hero was not the only one worth meriting. The rest of the cast very much put their heart and soul into their individual roles and their efforts quite brilliantly shine through. There was a defined feeling of cohesiveness that I find is rather rare for a group of teenagers to achieve. In other words, I was pleasantly surprised.

Taking on the role of the much sought after Prince Jared *insert trumpet sound here* Sean Hackle has the command and presence to handle the character with both charm and wit. And of course all great leads need strong supporting characters and RHNG is no exception to that rule. My hat most justly goes off to the right hand guy and girl of Prince Jared and Lady Robin. Ambrose, Jared's manservant, played by the ever hilarious and very well cast Trevor Catalano and Lady Robin's hand maid Madolyn, played by Laura Scheving cannot help but warm your heart and put a smile on your face.

Now what stage play is complete without a well executed over-the-top female villain that would make the woman who voiced Ursula the Sea Witch grin ear to ear? Oh ya RHNG happens to have one of those too. Roberta Barnes as Lady Vendola pretty much captures the essence of humorous conniving evil personified. Accompanied by the bumbling yet lovable apothecary forced into sorcery, Capers, played by Ginny Treu, they make quite the pair.

Finally rounded out by comedic princely duo Herald and Gerald (Brandon Gaunt & Dean Tierney) this play wins your heart from the opening line.

In summary: Kevin Treu organized his acting troops with masterful hand and cast and crew of Robin Hood: The Next Generation put on one heck of a show! They might have made a theatre fangirl out of me yet. Opening weekend went off without a hitch but crazy crew of the Greer Little Theatre still have next weekend to blow you away,  They need you there. Support the arts. Indulge in some laughs. I promise, warm fuzzy feelings will ensue.

Go ahead, buy a ticket. You will not regret it. I didn't. And I bought three.

MJ out.

PS. Thank God its not a Musical :D

Friday, October 15, 2010

THE S. MATTHEUS SESSIONS - Session 8,11,14

Things reach a boiling point as psychologist Doctor Amanda Allen starts digging into the origins of 16 year old Skye Mattheus's anger and bitterness. Mad props to Stephanie and Apryl. You both really brought it with this round. I think I might go with improv more often :D

For some reason, embeding from Youtube is freaking out blogger and making the screen HUGE so I'll just have to link you guys up  instead.

THE S. MATTHEUS SESSIONS - Session 8,11,14

Friday, October 8, 2010


Substance abuse among other things as landed 16 year old Skye Mattheus in juvenile attention under the care of psychologist Doctor Amanda Allen.

Entirely improv-ed therapy session performed by the cast of THE SAVING.

  • Stephanie Ibboston as Skye Mattheus
  • Apryl Mitchell-Snyder as Doctor Amanda Allen

My Heart on My Sleeve -

My words on the page. The following is a poem I penned very early this morning after these thoughts and feelings had been brewing my head for sometime.

Light up the Darkness

Johnny Boy took a gat to his head.
Does anybody care?

The tears run dry but the blood still flows.

From the hearts and wrists of those who are broken.
Does anybody care?

Families ripped apart, lives shattered by deeds done in darkness.

They wander, so lost in their own fear.
Their own worst enemy. Alone.

Does anybody care? Anybody?

Care enough to step out, take a hand, say a prayer, offer comfort? 
Be a friend.

They stand on the edge of that bridge, or that knife, or that gun or those pills.

Really, does anybody care?

I know you do. We have to care. We cannot let this hope of living life simply be our own. Share it. Light up the Darkness.

There is always hope.
There is always a way out.
Everyone needs a hero.

Be one today.

- Mahogany J. Slide  (8/10/10)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

S. Mattheus Sessions...WHAT?

Some of you have asked me "What in the world are The S. Mattheus Sessions anyhow?"

All the answers are here in the vlog below including why I decided to let go of my control freakness and allow both my actors to totally improv everything, basically ZERO SCRIPTING.

Look for Session 1's release this Friday at 4 PM EST. :D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sneak Peek FTW!

Just to whet your guys' appetites a bit, here's a clip from the upcoming weekend ONLY release of the "S. Mattheus Sessions" a series of entirely improved therapy sessions recorded a two months before Production.

Stephanie of course rocks the role of Skye Mattheus incarcerated in Juvenile Detention for drug abuse and  always willing to bail out her Director who can't keep a straight face playing opposite her female lead, the lovely Apryl Mitchell Snyder took on the part of the therapist.


Monday, September 27, 2010

We Made a Movie Yo! (The Pick Ups Edition)

It was raining cats and dogs and there were old people playing bingo. So went Pick Ups for THE SAVING principle photopgraphy.  The theme of the day could be summed up in three words. Rain. Blood. Wootness.

Myself and a skeleton crew tramped out yesterday afternoon to a secluded park to bang out what Steph dubbed "my death awesomeness." After its all said and done, ya it was pretty awesome and really really really surreal. But I kinda getting used to that.

Lesssons Learned

1. MJ really needs to check the weather forecast more often.

2. Everyone should know someone like the Brennen family. Talented Much? Thanks again Memory!

3. 7 people standing out in the falling rain with fake blood galore and some random girl sprawled out on the sidewalk contorted into a very awkward very dead looking position will most assuredly get some eyebrow raises. Much to the amusement of a certain 17 year old Director.

4. Stephanie is quite the trooper. There are few things she won't and hasn't done for this film. Now she can check lying on the freezing cold cement, drenched in rain in 55 degree weather with nothing but a t-shirt and jeans on, covered in blood off her list. Now we just need to set her on fire. I kid Steph...sorta :D

5. Umbrella Man Number 4 needs to be tagged on Facebook ASAP.

6. Sushi. Need I say more?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Indie Mathematics

Hard work + Awesome Crew/Cast = Uber cool Day 3 Principles Vlog = Even Cooler OFFICIAL TRAILER!

Now this is the type of arithmetic I can get behind :D


The Saving, Trailer 2.0 from Rebecca Davis on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We made a a Movie Yo! (Part Three)

Sunday September 13th, 2010

(all those involved in production)


Female Lead:  Stephanie Ibboston (Skye Mattheus)
Male Lead: Patrick Hussion (Paul Connel)


Director/Writer: MJ Slide
Exucutive Producer: Rebecca Davis
Director of Photography: Timi Brennen
Location Manager: Stuart Sabin
Sound Techie: Mike "Beast" Brennen  
Boom Mic Operator: Bridgett "The Maid of Awesome" Brennen 
Costume Designer: Apryl Mitchell-Snyder 
Make Up/Hair: Carice Alexander 
First Production Assistant & Script Supervisor: Katherine Payne 
Production Photographer: Anna Moseley  
Production Assistants: Sarah Belknap & Destry Edwards 

Lessons Learned

1. One can function on only 3 shots of espresso from 6:30 in the morning till 2:45 in the afternoon. Is it advised? Absolutely not.

2. Never, never, never give up.  But if all else fails, bring in a mattress.

3. Indie filmmakers have to be some of the most resourceful people out there. We gotta be, cause heck, we're all broke. :D

4. I really should either get a new pair of shoes I'm totally in love with or get used to going bare foot.  (moment of silence for my deceased Mions)

5. Its not the equipment that makes a film.  Its those "random" moments when the sun breaks out from behind the clouds, flooding a parking garage rooftop with gorgeous amounts of light and your male and female leads knock your directing socks off with how perfectly they capture their characters and all you can do is stand there with your jaw hanging opened until your DP harshly whispers "Call cut!" Ya, thats what its about. (yes i know that was totally a run-on sentence)

6. Making movies is hard work. Now...when to I get to do it again?


Told you.

"Being at work and not getting a single text or call about the set blowing up. Feeling good that the crew had it together."
- Rebecca Davis (Producer & Editor)

People thought we were tailgating in the parking garage.
I'm wearing shoes. Enjoy the sight while you can.


This alley is gonna end up in another one of my films.

Stephanie: You brought your sword?

MJ: Of course I brought my sword. I am Film Warrior! *best samurai pose* Now hold this for me, I gotta go make a movie.

She actually didn't really like that sword.


"I had a TON of favorite moments.....but I'll go with the entire last day at the parking garage. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than with like-minded, creative friends shooting a movie. THE SAVING became an action film for an afternoon as we were running, jumping and running some more....VERY exciting!! I actually didn't mind that my feet were killing me about half-way through the day in those oxford shoes! It was an all-around GREAT three days and I'll never forget it!" - Patrick Hussion (Paul Connel) 

Crew and Cast...oh ya and that really big building in the BG

"(Being on THE SAVING set was) The best experience I've ever had on a set due to the camaraderie and everyone's willingness to help out!" - Bridgett Brennen (Boom Pole Operator)

I heart Mr. Mike.

Catch Phrase of the Day: 
"One more for safety." *groan*

"I'll go for the sword, you nab the bullhorn."

Timi and Mike Brennen
"I loved getting to know everyone on set and
hanging out with the cast!" - Anna Moseley (Production Photographer)

It was nutty hot outside. "Hydrate Woman!"

Leave it to the Costume Designer


"The great cooperation of the crew and the awesome visual impact of the parking garage scenes really stand out in my mind." - Apryl Mitchell-Snyder (Costume Designer)

Uh hu, you know it.

I love this shot and I don't even like converse.

Timi & I make a GREAT team. I thought you should know.

"My favorite moment was every time the Boss (MJ) lit up like a gasoline soaked tire after seeing the footage bring her story to life" - Timi Brennen (Director of Photography)


Action Sequence FTW

"My favorite moment was when Stephanie popped up behind the wall with a big smile after jumping to her doom" - Mike Brennen (Sound Techie)

MJ: Oh look! Shoes are back on.

MJ:  Wait, I hear a train. Where's the train?

Timi: Its a Ghost train, see, more symbolism.

IN CONCLUSION:  We went Guerilla. We ran around like crazy people. We ate subs. We killed Stephanie 23 times. All and all...WE MADE A MOVIE YO!

Nuff said.

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Made A Movie Yo! (Part Two)


Saturday September 11th, 2010

Lessons Learned

1. THE SAVING runs on Dunkin...ok more like Krispy Kreme but you get the idea.

2. Always slate every take (shot). Even if you have to dig through the back of a Hummer to find the dang clapperboard, DO SO! Your editor will love you forever. Unlike mine heehee 

3.  Situations are only as awkward as you allow them to be. After that, it just gets funny.

4.  I finally understand what the phrase "punch drunk" means (slaphappy with exhaustion)

5. To me, when it comes to filmmaking its very hard to over-communicate. If it feels like overkill then you're probably doing your job well. 

Cool fruit place...yep yep.

I came, I saw, I jibbed.
Don't ask.
If this isn't DIY I don't know what is.

Catch Phrase of the day: "We went to to the moon. Can't we just CGI a scarf on?" - Stephanie

We ate donuts. We shot Interiors. We learned a lot. We had wacky fun. Again, Mission Accomplished.
Day 3 here we come!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We made a Movie Yo (Part One)


Friday September 10th, 2010

Lessons Learned

1. Early call times are a divine gift from heaven. So is Coffee.

2. A faithful creative gutsy crew is the back bone of any successful film. Nail them, love em, and treat em right and you've got yourself a prime situation for STELLAR filmmaking. I am one blessed Director.

3. Stephanie knows WAY too much 80's music and I think its safe to say, she's rubbed off on me. Now only if we could remedy my slight lack of respect for established institutions :)

4. I hate trains. I hate miniature trains even more. I hate old train conductors named Murphy. Forget "Pardon me Mr. Train Man."

5. The prize for raddest most hard working PA has to go to my BFF Katie Payne. She worked her rear-end off and I believe my producer Rebecca is pretty much in love with her OCD note taking and faithful slating at the beginning of every take.

6. There are few things more exhilarating then beating the obstacles, accomplishing all your set out to do in 12 hours, and still have your cast and crew grinning like morons. Tired, warm fuzzy feelings most wholeheartedly ensue.

We pretty much lived on that blasted creek bank for 5 hours.
"All the moments where you could see how well we all worked together and how dedicated each of us was, stepping in to fill spots without questioning or needing attention or thanks for it, being willing to try again and again until we had it right, and laughing all the way through."
- Katie Payne (PA & Script Supervisor) 
We are making a movie, I promise.

Catch Phrase of the Day: 
"We got this."

"While the camera was rolling, I WAS Skye. That was an incredible feeling."
- Stephanie Ibbotson (Skye Mattheus)

IN CONCLUSION:  We rocked. We shot. We didn't kill each other. Mission Accomplished. Now onto Day 2.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How it went down (The Making of THE SAVING)

Broadcasting from MJ's nerd abode (aka the corner office in the garage) an intro vid just to whet your guys' appetites. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Drualt & Filmmaking: A SAVING UPDATE


In a land way way down south more 8 months ago a young woman came up with idea that would change the course of her life forever. 9 more days and that idea will exist in more then the realm of her mind. The groundwork has been laid. 

Step follows step. 
Hope follows courage. 
Set your face toward danger. 
Set your heart on victory

So begins the stanza of a epic poem written by Gail Carson Levine for her lovely children's book "The Two Princesses of Bamarre".  I highly doubt Mrs. Levine would have guessed that some random 17 year old filmmaker in SC would adopt that as her working creedo, but it perfectly summarizes my approach and attitude to the crazy journey I'm on known as THE MAKING OF THE SAVING.

Step Follows Step.

That's how its gotta work. You have to take one day at a time. Be prepared for the next but never overwhelmed. Pull up the bootstraps, lean on those around who care about you no matter what and go for it. Never look back.

Hope follows courage.

I consider independent filmmakers pretty courageous individuals. We don't have money coming out our ears, and the odds are largely stacked against us but yet we're still hopeful...and maybe a bit crazy but you know, in a good way. We hope in the fact that we know we have stories worth telling and that there are people who are out there who want to hear/watch them. 

Set your Face toward Danger.

I've realized that very few things in life that are worth having come without some form of suffering. There's nothing safe about making an indie film. Its a risky business, full of long nights, heartache, rejection, and sometimes even failure.  You need a tough skin and a strong support system. Face the danger of failure, misunderstanding and hardship straight on. 

Set your heart on Victory.

Never let the goal out of sight. Sometimes when the going gets tough I forget why I'm striving so hard in the first place. It seems totally absurd but any artist whose ever worked and worked and worked at something has fallen into this trap. As much as its about the journey, there wouldn't be one if one didn't have a destination. Sitting in that theater, surrounded by those who have labored with me in the good times and bad and watched the titles FADE IN: That is my victory. My heart, my mind, my very being is ready for that moment.


Like so many of my friends have said, I should have been born in a epic movie. :)