12 Filmmakers + 4 Days = A Life Changing Experience

Back in October I attended a filmmaking workshop in Portland, Oregon called EVO produced by the Emmy Award winning team of Stillmotion​. For the last several years I have been dabbling in filmmaking, slowly acquiring and learning how to use new gear. But it is the magic of storytelling that has captured my heart. The ability to emotionally connect with another person, or many people, through a visual story is my “raison d’etre”. I feel that everything I have done so far creatively through graphic design, art history and photography has lead me to this point where now I need to make films. And EVO really helped to clarify this for me.

EVO brings together 12 filmmakers which are broken up into 2 teams each tasked with producing a film, start to finish, for a non-profit in 3 days. This year the group was comprised of 10 men and 2 women which is pretty typical of the male to female ratio in filmmaking.

Our first day was spent in the classroom going over the basics of storytelling and reviewing MUSE. Stillmotion developed MUSE as an online learning platform designed to make storytelling a repeatable process built on the 4 pillars of story; people, places, plot, and purpose. It is a seriously kick-ass course that is making me a much more intentional and thoughtful filmmaker. One of the MUSE mantras I find myself repeating over and over from their teaching is “Speak to the heart to move the mind”.

At the end of the day 1 we were split into our teams and each given the non-profit we would be making a film for. Given my lack of filmmaking experience I expected to be get the roll of gaffer but was gobsmacked when Patrick told me I would be the DP. My first reaction, I wanted to poop my pants. Once I got over my fear I realized that I was being given this amazing opportunity to grow as a filmmaker. Patrick Moreau, a founder of Stillmotion and an exceptional educator, was our team leader. I learned that you really need to bring your A-game when interacting with him because he will question everything you are doing and he expects you to know exactly why you are making the choices you are. He also inspires you to do things you never thought you were capable of doing.

Our non-profit was The Rosewood Initiative – A community center on the outskirts of Portland.

The next 3 days were a blur of activity, I only slept 11 hours from Tuesday morning until Friday evening. The chance to work with a team of like-minded filmmakers in a wholly collaborative environment is truly my biggest take away. Seeing everything we learned through MUSE unfold over the course of three days was also a highlight. I was like a kid in a candy store and even though I knew the sugar rush would end, the lessons learned would be absorbed slower and last alot longer.

Day 1 + 2 of production included finding our keywords, mapping out our story and shooting.

It was an incredible experience, one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Our non-profit was The Rosewood Initiative, a community hub, offering a number of resources for folks in the community to grow, feel safe, and give back. The story of Valerie, Jenny and Rosewood was not easy to bring together in 3 days but I am so proud of the work we all did together with the help of the entire Stillmotion and MUSE teams. I will never be able to approach filmmaking the same way.

On Day 3 of production we edited, got additional footage, and screened our finished film.

Please take a moment and watch the film and if you are interested in learning what I learned then head on over to Stillmotion and see what they have cooking.

Director – Eric Lu
Director of Photography – Tracy Martin
Second Camera – Joel Benson
Audio – Liang Liang
Gaffer – Paul Liu
Producer – Ethney McMahon
Our Stillmotion Team – Patrick Moreau, Goose, Kathryn Giroux & Sam Praus

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