Posts in category "Video"

Princess Dolly, 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capa­ble of pro­found love (or burn­ing hatred), and that loy­al­ty made her feel more like a lit­tle per­son than a com­pan­ion. With the abil­i­ty to rec­og­nize peo­ple through win­dows, I’d often find her sit­ting on the sill at the front of the house, wait­ing to greet me with a cho­rus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a rit­u­al only spe­cial guests may be privy to, if they’ve pre­sent­ed the princess with enough presents.

I adopt­ed her in uni­ver­si­ty, and she was a con­stant pres­ence through many res­i­dences, house­mates, girl­friends — we even shared our space with oth­er cats for years at a time. When find­ing me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, invit­ing me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spend­ing a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just pass­ing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blan­kets and stare into each oth­er’s eyes; there was as much com­fort to be found in her purring as my warmth and atten­tion.

I could tell our bond was spe­cial from the start, and being fear­ful that I’d nev­er share any­thing like it with anoth­er cat again, always made sure to cher­ish every sec­ond.

Continue read­ing “Princess Dolly, 2003–2018”…

facing eternity, or the lack thereof

Heather man­aged to snag a job at a great com­pa­ny on the oth­er side of town. She start­ed her train­ing last month, and I could­n’t be more proud of her for mak­ing the cut after months of resumes and appli­ca­tions, hope and patience.

While it makes sense for her to start work­ing, I’ve been forced to deal with an unset­tling void in the house — like the deaf­en­ing silence of a black­out, when the elec­tron­ic hums and glows cease to pro­vide their per­pet­u­al com­pa­ny. We nev­er spent more than an hour apart before this, when she might have stepped out to grab some gro­ceries or a pre­scrip­tion1; near­ly two years where we could­n’t help but be close­ly in tune with each oth­er’s needs and moods. Now, it feels like we bare­ly have a chance to get our dailies with a bit of extra con­tent before it’s time for bed.

Cadem Forest in Plains of Ashford

I always trav­el with my menagerie of cats; this month with Zuzu, Cat of Darkness at my feet (in cel­e­bra­tion of Halloween) and Brill on my back (who’s actu­al­ly a tiger cub).

Losing so much of each oth­er has been a dif­fi­cult adjust­ment. I was­n’t ready for this. It was­n’t a deci­sion I made. I’m not use to being so alone, or even tak­ing care of myself, for that mat­ter2. When she’s away, the void makes it painful­ly clear how much I sur­round­ed myself with her. I can’t even write with­out men­tion­ing her, cause there’s rarely a deci­sion I make with­out con­sid­er­ing her first, whether it’s how we’re going to spend our time or what I’m going to say next.

It’s a dif­fi­cult reminder of many years spent with­out a part­ner or par­ent to rely on. I’ve been try­ing to reclaim my inde­pen­dence by pick­ing up small respon­si­bil­i­ties. Something as sim­ple as mak­ing my space more com­fort­able, whether it’s a thor­ough clean­ing or new light­ing arrange­ment, turns into a chance to suc­ceed and feel accom­plished. Even games become lit­tle projects, ways of exer­cis­ing my cre­ativ­i­ty or keep­ing myself sharp.

I knew Heather would even­tu­al­ly be work­ing, and I’d be alone. Now the day has come, and I’m con­stant­ly won­der­ing: who am I when I’m by myself? What do I do to fill the hours that she’s away?

At least it’s giv­en me a chance to write again. The break has­n’t been entire­ly inten­tion­al. Part of it is the fact that writ­ing takes ener­gy, and I rarely have any to spare when I’m try­ing so hard just to feel okay. Another part is the fact that I haven’t need­ed this in the same way since I met her. She’s become an impor­tant out­let, one who always makes her­self avail­able to me. There has­n’t been the same long­ing to write, cause I haven’t need­ed to vent, or sort out my thoughts, or feel val­i­dat­ed.

Nevertheless, this peri­od of empti­ness has become a chap­ter in itself. A change that will be a great deal of the rest of our lives. I’m stuck here, while the days stretch out before me with end­less pos­si­bil­i­ty. The hard part is final­ly stum­bling into the life I’ve always want­ed, find­ing a part­ner who fills in my gaps in all the right ways, but not being ready for it all.

  1. Aside from a few days she spent vis­it­ing her fam­i­ly last year. It was the first sig­nif­i­cant amount of time we were away from each oth­er since we met, and I had a pan­ic attack before she was out of the city. []
  2. She still han­dles the meals, and has a sys­tem where most things are done in the slow cook­er; all I need to do is pour the con­tents of a bag into the pot and turn it on at a cer­tain time, although, some days, even this can slip my mind. []

Katie + Seth — Wedding Day

The Cuban sun burned espe­cial­ly bright on the day Katie and Seth got mar­ried, but the wind kept every­one com­fort­able while unlim­it­ed drinks made sure sobri­ety was nev­er an issue. There’s some­thing to be said about the exclu­siv­i­ty of des­ti­na­tion wed­dings, cause they leave lit­tle room for strangers or acquain­tances. Only the clos­est peo­ple will com­mit to plane tick­ets and accom­mo­da­tions. The cel­e­bra­tions are all the more inti­mate for it, and I’m always glad when I have a chance to be part of the that.

You nev­er need to make a spe­cial effort to find the wildlife in Varadero; even on the resorts, birds will brave­ly snatch food at your feet, while stray cats toy with lizards and mice alike before eat­ing them. And being sur­round­ed by oth­er peo­ple on their own hol­i­days, whether they’re tan­ning on the beach or let­ting pret­ty girls cheat at lim­bo, brings a warmth to the atmos­phere that even the sun can’t pro­vide.

Allison + Eric — Wedding Day

Allie and Eric had a pic­turesque wed­ding at South Pond, a quant lit­tle farm in Bethany Hills. Their day was filled with delight­ful details, like car­riage rides to the cer­e­mo­ny, dove releas­es, and paper lanterns. It all made for a wed­ding film that nev­er los­es it’s momen­tum. Even though I’ve been work­ing with a com­pos­er to score my most recent films, I still take spe­cial requests from cou­ples who want me to use songs that have per­son­al mean­ing to them, and in this case it was Such Great Heights by The Postal Service.

I cut my teeth on fil­mog­ra­phy and dis­cov­ered my per­son­al style when spend­ing time on Eric and Mark’s farm in Bancroft. Back then, I had a cheap cam­corder1 but need­ed a sub­ject, they had the snow­board­ing skills but need­ed a doc­u­men­tar­i­an. That’s how I gained cru­cial expe­ri­ence with edit­ing, com­pos­ing, and grad­ing, though it would be years before I got a real cam­era and final­ly under­stood aper­ture, shut­ter speed, and ISO as well. Filming Eric get­ting mar­ried was like com­ing around full-cir­cle, where I could apply all the things I’ve learned through the years since those week­ends spent in the coun­try with his fam­i­ly and friends.

  1. A Hitachi DVD-RAM cam­corder, which only took ter­ri­bly com­pressed video in some pro­pri­etary for­mat. []

Heather + Dave — Wedding Day

Shot at a Jewish sleep-away camp at the side of the Ottawa River on a per­fect day.

This film is one of the high­lights of my 2012 wed­ding sea­son. I had to end it on a scene dur­ing the first look, when Dave’s face reveals how anx­ious he is to see Heather in her dress; those are the moments that speak for all the years in a rela­tion­ship. They’ve known each oth­er since grade 7, along with most of the wed­ding par­ty. You can eas­i­ly tell how close every­one is from the way they touch and dance and embrace.

I worked very close­ly with Adrian from Five Stripe Studios in scor­ing this film. The wood­en build­ings and out­door set­ting made me think of sum­mer camp, so I want­ed the first sec­tion to sound like an old tape you’d find in your dad’s glove com­part­ment as he’s dri­ving you there, the rib­bon warped from heat. Adrian did an amaz­ing job of cre­at­ing that mood, the care­ful melod­i­ca being a very nice touch. There were also impor­tant details I asked for, like the slide gui­tar going from note to note exact­ly when the focus zooms from a leaf to the sun1, which he inge­nious­ly built into a repeat­ing theme.

Having com­plete con­trol over the music is great for per­fec­tion­ists like me, but the best thing about work­ing with such a tal­ent­ed com­pos­er is being able to give each cou­ple a set of songs that have been cre­at­ed just for them, some­thing that makes each film par­tic­u­lar­ly unique.

  1. At 1:45. []