Life in transition

No idea what I’m doing with my life. Pretty typical statement coming from someone my age or any age really. It’s also an overstatement. I have ideas and I definitely know what I’m not going to do with my life. I’m not going to get addicted to meth or heroine and start prostituting myself out or pick-pocketing. I’m not making real judgement on those life choices for other people, all I’m saying is that they are not for me at this time. That said, I’m pretty against stealing. Stealing is bad. I digress.

My mother always said, “fake it ’til you make it” thus I have been projecting forward an essence of success and comfort with being some sort of an artist. I’ve even been identifying myself as a “filmmaker” when people ask what I do. This can be a challenging sequence of syllables to say as I don’t really direct films which is what people associate with that identification. However that is what I am and what I do. Sometimes I produce for people, making sure the film gets made. This is a publicly unappreciated job but probably where I excel the most. Sometimes I edit the video. Another unappreciated job. Sometimes I shoot and sometimes I direct. Sometimes I write. Then there are times I do it all. It’s what I have been doing with my life in one form or another since 1999. It’s what I love. It’s what I study. It’s just what I do. I do film stuff. I am a filmmaker.

My life is in transition at the moment. I got laid off from a job working at a documentary production company which was heart breaking. Getting the boot from a job feels a million times worse than any romantic break up. Personal break ups are bad but mostly I can find a zen moment when I realize that we were best without each other. I try to look at that relationship as a stepping stone to the next better relationship. Professional break ups feel gut-wrenching in that I am currently questioning my professional self-worth. I’m hoping to find that balanced moment where I can see it as a path to a better job. I’m just not there yet. However I do think this extreme doubt and questioning is cathartic. Maybe everyone should do this? Though I don’t wish this upon anyone.

Another obvious statement – job hunting is awful. It’s all consuming. I spend at least 4-8 hours a day, 6 days a week, looking for job postings, researching companies, tailoring my resume, writing cover letters, submitting applications and following up with applications. I also spend time staying in touch with professional contacts that may help me find my next job or gig. My thought process is that if I keep this up something has to pan out. I’ve been told that for every 100 applications one job offer will happen. Hopefully that’s some what true. I’ve disciplined myself to stick to a strict schedule that even includes time for exercise to make sure I have regular amounts of endorphins. I’m averaging about 5-10 applications a week. I’m hoping that in the next 10 weeks I can find a more permanent job that I enjoy.

I have been fortunate enough to keep freelancing through this unemployment adventure. I’m still feeling like a new kid in the Bay Area. I don’t have a lot of contacts with other filmmakers and thus I’m having to take jobs well below my rate in order to make relationships. I was hoping that moving from Texas to California would give me a professional clean slate. In my earlier 20’s I made a lot of mistakes and had many miscommunications professionally. I’m still haunted by some of my earlier flubs. I actually have nightmares about it. At what point do you out grow your earlier oversights? My brother doesn’t believe in mistakes. He believes that all choices that were made are opportunities that you learn from. I subscribe to his book of thought though it’s hard. I’m hoping to take all of my past experiences with film freelancing into a successful future. I’m dedicated to making it work. Need a video made? I’m available for hire?

I recently signed up with a temping agency. I figure why not. I’m thinking of it like office freelancing. I’m hoping that it will help supplement my lifestyle until I find other, better, work. Plus it’s temporary. It’s still new. I’ll try to write about it more later.

All of this unemployment, freelancing and general Bay Area survival has resulted in the decay of personal projects including my Yarn Graffiti Documentary. I have to spend all my waking energy finding ways to make means to continue to live in San Francisco and figure out what I’m doing with my life. My rent is cheap for my area but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a struggle to maintain. Food and bills are also very real. I’ve heard from many people who live in the Bay Area that they have to work several jobs just to keep living here and because of that they hardly have time to enjoy the actual city. It seems like a cruel joke – living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and not being able to have time to enjoy it.  Moving forward I hope to get full time work in filmmaking that allows me time to enjoy the Bay Area and also time to work on my feature film.

Wish me luck.

 

OkCupid and Online Dating

I’m sure some will read the next statement with judgement: I have been online dating on again/off again since roughly 2008 using OKCupid. It’s crazy I know. I seem like such a “normal” person. Seriously though, some people still think online dating is weird and for pathetic people (which may or may not be true). I know my mother is constantly concerned for my safety when I tell her about my online dates. She assumes that everyone on “those sites” are there to murder women (and who knows, maybe she’s right). I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak to my issues, challenges and successes with the online dating world.

Photo by Thomas8047 (Flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/93482748@N02/14591726690/in/photolist-oeqpYE-4RCPVe-33PQq9-4vH4A8-9imgxq-4RGZ8C-wsxmf-4RCQPt-5Ux4pT-hHrkBr-eaJ4aU-ms1GZV-jzo1R7-499Rjs-BxSkW-dAPegg-c5h8uo-5KAUPd-ijuCJ-cjcaq-c5QYJQ-eUDjoV-eUDgAZ-iJkRSy-4YjHr5-8zh2ve-6JSD2C-eWMTUQ-nUULPr-4YvucD-7LGg6u-dVMCg1-eUQBHN-eUDi1v-87xuV9-7WLYQ1-87xupC-87xuyw-7xETY9-9ic8ZM-7W6SmJ-8XTTDF-5oXbAa-6LGx6n-94dP6i-bP8NLt-4EjNgb-7uhcYm-eu61xv-dXiyhG/  Zurich Switzerland. Creative Commons.
Obvious Change In The Way The World Works

I have a soft spot for romantic comedies or really any movie with a meet-cute. I would love to meet the man of my dreams as we both reach for the last copy of the same book at a book store and then end up at dinner later that night deciding ultimately that we should share it. That’s what American books, movies and television have told us for what seems like all of civilized mankind -You meet the person you’re suppose to be with in circumstances of shared interest. Period! Right?

I’ve been struggling with something since graduating college: Once you’re done with school, where do you meet people if not through work or friends? I’ve always worked in small non-profits or I freelance so I haven’t been inclined to seek romantic companionship through those venues as I need to maintain all my professional relationships. I had met all my friends’ friends and still nothing (though I should note that meeting people through your friends has one of the high success rates for relationships). Back in 2008 under the influence and help from one of my good friends and some whiskey, I created an OKCupid profile.

At first I was skeptical. After considering that my expectations are low and that I have nothing to lose I went for it. I went on a good amounts of dates without any real results. There’s definitely some cantor that comes with online dating. One guy asked me if we could have sex after just meeting me at a bowling ally. After I said “no” we kept bowling, shared a pitcher of beer and went our separate ways. One guy and I decided in the middle of the date that we weren’t into each other and are still friends today.

Everyone needs to get over the stigma. This is how young people are using the tools available to meet a higher variety of people. Though it can feel awkward it is really efficient to weed out certain people that you know aren’t going to work for you. Though this is a problem that online dating present: if you don’t know yourself and what you want, how are you suppose to be able to be successful at online dating? As I’ve gotten older and had more experiences I am much more in tune with my needs and wants and who I am – basically an internet dating pro.

 

Creepers vs Good ol’ Fashioned Creeps

There’s something pretty enticing about being able to snoop through people’s personal dating profiles. Social media brought a new world order of creeping and stalking. I’m a creeper – checking out your pictures, links, comments etc. Truthfully I have been doing this my whole life. I use to look at people at restaurants and in the mall and make up stories about them based on their appearances and actions. Now instead of doing that at cafes and shopping centers, I’m doing it online. If I meet someone without an online presence I jump to the conclusion that that person has something to hide. I love that we’re living in a time of putting it all out there. Hopefully the honesty of it all will help with stigmas and stereotypes. I digress though.

Some people have definitely taken this “creeping” to a creepy level. Obviously there are hackers in the world that are out for your personal information to steal your wealth and make your life more annoying. I’m not really going to get into that here. The real creeps are the trolls and real stalkers that find your address or follow you on the street. These creeps threaten your safety. Thankfully I’ve only encountered some trolls on OKCupid who’s sole purpose is to build you up to put you down. I assume they do this as some sort of game that makes them feel better about themselves. However I feel obligated to say that it’s okay to creep and do research on someone that you’re possibly interested in. I do it. I’m very aware of my online presence and will not be creeped out if you look me up. I will be creeped out if you know things that are more private or if you find my address.

Unfortunately there are real good ol’ fashioned creeps both online and in real life. This is definitely a down side to the internet. Some people believe that just because they can’t see the person they are interacting with that it means they can be utter jerks. Louie CK said it best when he talks about empathy on Conan. Seriously I have read some really fucked up messages from guys on OKCupid that I feel like they wouldn’t have the nerve saying to me in person. Some things are violent and very inappropriate, especially to send to someone who is basically a stranger. I wish there were therapists I could recommend these guys talk to to work out their issues with women.

 

Predator and Prey

It’s never made a lot of sense to me why dating has to include an essence of power. I either feel like the predator or the prey, the seeker or the seeked. Traditionally women seem to fall in the prey/seeked roll in dating and from what I can tell from my friends and family, they don’t seem to mind. I have alway thought this was bogus. As women we’re suppose to wait around for someone to want to hang out with us?!

Every man that I have ever tried to seek, it has completely scared them off. Seriously. I have heard from many many guys that complain that they wish women would take the lead in dating sometimes but you know what, I’ve done it like a dozen times and I have never been successful. Even on OKCupid it doesn’t work. There must be something about a woman that’s interested in you that is a major turn off for a guy. Please if you have any real insight about this contact me.
Photo by Alan Cleaver (Flickr). Creative Commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4443921690/in/photolist-7LGg6u-dVMCg1-eUQBHN-eUDi1v-87xuV9-7WLYQ1-87xupC-87xuyw-7xETY9-9ic8ZM-7W6SmJ-8XTTDF-5oXbAa-6LGx6n-94dP6i-bP8NLt-4EjNgb-7uhcYm-eu61xv-dXiyhG-nuvRzR-7W3WHX-7W6Po9-7W6PSS-7W7bZE-7W6QT5-87ui9T-ou6Qgg-7uUY3Z-jhumep-eQyTgu-iSkPUg-46uZse-4BrLp8-8P1B9h-5ZmyHv-a6XtNL-9unkdu-4XG8Hc-9sfqbT-91xwbj-8PfWcY-nnohPh-c2ZUhU-91q8jC-67rRe3-8nhJiN-91vi1q-eh6MEm-7W3zhnGame of Jerks

An ex-boyfriend, whom I met on OKC, clued me in on something that he had heard from some buddies also using OKC. It’s basically an approach to online dating that they have amongst friends where they give each other points depending on the activities of the date. X amount of points for this and X amount of points for that type of thing. I think they would just keep a running tab on how “well” someone is doing by how many points that person has generated. Obvious things like hand holding, kissing, hugging, and offering to pay or split the bill are included in the game for point opportunities. Now these specific friends of his live in the Bay Area which I only mention because they would say offer 50 points if they could get a female to cross a bridge for a first date. They would offer more points the farther a female would travel for them. They had a series of point opportunities if the women put herself out there, taking a chance. They would also purposely take a woman on a bad date and offer points depending on how long it took a woman to complain or whether or not she was easy-going. My understanding of this game is that these men would put a lot of effort forth to weed out women and reward each other with arbitrary points depending on how good of a story it gives them later as they sip their Pliney the Elder.

First off I have never gotten on board with referring to dating or love as a game. Games have, objectives, rules, winners and losers. Dating and love shouldn’t have to have rules, winners and losers, it should be more fluid. I feel disgusted and sorry for all the men and women who treat dating as a game. It makes me frustrated.

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It

Why do we even bother doing this? There are so many terrible people in the world. How are we suppose to find someone that we might want to spend more time with?

I try to approach my time on OKCupid with low low low expectations. I’m not there to find my husband or true love. I’m truthfully there to meet new people and maybe find someone who I get along with and might want to see movies with down the line. I made my profile somewhat silly and open ended. I reply to messages with an air of flirtiness. I don’t put too much stock into someone until I can really get a good read on them. I’m usually not surprised by people’s flakiness or lack of empathy. I don’t let it control my life.

We’re all looking for love. No one really wants to be alone. My only advice is that as you go online looking to connect with someone, try to have fun with it and don’t expect fireworks or people to not lie to you or be a jerk. Just do it for the experience of it and enjoy the ride.

Relocation

I love Austin, I can live here forever. A lot of amazing things happen here both in life and in the film industry. Really, things are happening here. Some times it feels like the rest of the country is looking to Austin to declare “cool” between Austin City Limits and South by South West. However I decided that it was time I left Austin and tried something new. I don’t want to start forever right now so I’m going to post pone it.

I grew up in San Antonio, TX, in the same zip code no less for 18 and a half years. Moving to Austin, a mere 86 miles from home, didn’t seem like that big of a step from outsiders but at the time was huge. Not sure if this is known or something to really brag about but I am definitely a “Mommy’s girl”. Going to the University of Texas at Austin seemed like a good fit for me for many reasons, one being that it was far enough away from home to declare my independence but close enough for comfort just in case I needed some time with my Mom. Other reasons UT was the place for me was that the film school was awesome and the film industry was happening. Often called the third coast, Austin got a reputation as being an independent movie hub.

Living in Austin these last nine years has been a dream. Some of the best moments of my life have taken place in the Live Music Capital of the world. It’s tough getting ready to say goodbye. What if it doesn’t work out? Northern California seemed like a natural next step. One of my best friends of all time is there as well as a big documentary community. San Francisco is a bigger city with new opportunities.

Wish me luck!

Rebuilding

Recently I have moved my site, gonzography.com from Citymax to WordPress. I did this for many reasons, the most important being that it will save me lots of money to host it on WordPress. While Citymax was efficient and effective, it cost me $25 a month. Citymax seems like it’s a great host for small businesses because of the amount of space and emails it allots an account but for an artist-type it didn’t seem like the right choice. Citymax seems to be geared towards e-commerce and right now the only thing I’m selling is me (but not in the prostitute-sort-of-way) . I need a place to post my work and stay on top of my self marketing.

I have run, maintained and customized several wordpress sites for various people and organization but I’ve never built one from the ground up. I’m learning a lot. First off, there’s a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress(.org) – who knew? Answer: A lot of people knew, like all the WordPress users. I feel like I am late to a party that happened 4 years ago. Thankfully every question I have has already been answered. I don’t have a strong design background but knowing that that is my weakness, I am pushed to want to do it.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

Over the next couple of months, this site will change and evolve. Stick around for the fun. Let me know what you think. If you’re a wordpress geek, feel free to drop me a line and give me some pointers. I am not one to turn down help. My goal is to have a site I’m really happy with, which will include my photography, videos, blogs, and etc. by the end of summer.

Say goodbye to my old blog title, “Overworked and Underpaid: Livin’ the post-college recession dream”

New Year’s Resolution

Happy 2012! I don’t think the world is going to end anytime soon so we might as well keeping living and doing what we do. It’s a new year with new goals. I’m not going to bore you with my personal resolutions of weight loss, spending more quality time with my mom, break dancing and increased bike riding. We’re not here to talk about that. As far as the Yarn Graffiti Documentary goes the goal for the year is to wrap up primary production. To wrap up production the Yarn Graffiti Doc team is working around the clock to get money to finish this movie.

Another big resolution is to make sure to keep all of you updated through this blog. I’ve let this blog fall to the wayside. I promise to stay on top of this.

The holidays were good to me in strange way, (I love my family) but bad for the documentary. For 2 weeks I didn’t really think about it. I’m happy to be back to normal life where I think about this documentary all day long like a monkey on my back.

I’m back to work on the doc! More coming soon.

Ravelry!

When I was at work today, I wandered down the hall and was water-cooler talking with the guys at Picturebox Productions. In a lot of ways, I feel like Kevin (J. Smith) , Mike (Nicholson) and David (Layton) are my older brothers. They are all definitely super supportive on my doc. I’m hoping to raise enough money down the line for my doc so that I can hire them during my post production phase of my documentary. They did an amazing job with a feature documentary called Better This World. If you get a chance to see it, SEE IT. It was easily the best documentary I saw at SXSW Film Festival this year (Where Soldiers Come From at a super close second). I digress…

Today Mike showed me an article on Slate which was talking about this Craft Social Media Networking site called Ravelry. “The best social network you’ve (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook.” I feel stupid that I haven’t been utilizing craft, knitting, and crocheting online communities. Today I joined Ravelry (user name Gonzography, please add me as a friend). It’s awesome. I can’t believe my friends and even my aunt have been on this site for years. It’s funny because people are freaking out about Google+ but I’m getting excited about Ravelry.

Thanks Picturebox guys for always looking at for me! I now have a new way to waste, I mean spend my time.

Side projects

Part of the reason I love this doing this documentary is because I’m a knitter. Ever night, after dinner is made and eaten, emails are sent, my boyfriend and I curl up on the couch and either watch movies or tv and I knit. I’ve only been knitting for the last 3 years or so and I’m honesty not every good. I only started purling a year and half in. I mostly taught myself through books (I wonder if I plug my favorite knitting books if they plug my documentary?) and through the encouragement of some of my more crafty friends.

I’m still trying to get crocheting down. My mom is a huge crocheter. She made my baby blanket while I was an infant in her arms. She said she never got into knitting. She’s tried to help me with crochet but I just can’t get into those hooks.

Here’s what I’ve been working on recently:

Last summer I heard that I should expect to have a new nephew by the spring of this year. Once I heard the good news I started to make my first baby blanket. Since I’m really good at knitting squares and rectangles, I figured I would make a checkerboard square blanket. I cast on 40 knits then I alternated knitting one row then purling the next for 80 rows (classic stockinette stitch). My good friend Julia advised me to knit all the ends so that the ends of each square won’t curl up too much. After 10 months, Jackson Douglas Gonzalez has arrived to the world and he has a new blanket…
My mom crocheted the edges to give it that more polished look. It’s probably not the best blanket ever made, but it was my first blanket and is Jack’s first (special) blanket.

After this huge task I really didn’t have much inspiration to do anything. I had hit a wall with my knitting. During International Yarn Bombing Day I was hanging out with the Yarn Dawgz and Billy was making a little knitted pouch while we were sitting and hanging out. He ended up giving the pouch to David which David continued to gush about for the rest of our shoot. It really inspired me to try to make one myself.

I randomly switched between knitting and purling. I made it the size of an ipod/iphone and then I gave it to Amanda to cheer up her day. I made it in one sitting but I thought I could do a better job. So then I did this…

Again, it didn’t take me long to do and it turned out ok. I still wasn’t satisfied. I thought it was time to learn to knit with circular needles and double-sided needles. I took me several tries but …and what I made was…


A much nicer ipod pouch! I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this.

Documentary Survival Starter Gift Set

My boyfriend, John Spotswood Moore, has probably seen more documentaries than anyone else I know. Since I told him about my project, he has been grilling me on my story, structure, game plan. “Is it going to be retrospective or lead towards an event?” he asks me. “is it going to be Cinéma vérité or more direct cinema?” I have been playfully calling him my Documentary Drill Sergent. Lately, I’ve been more under this mindset of, I’ll let it figure its self out–I don’t want to make it be anything, I just want it to be. This apparently is the flaky way of thought.

Because we just moved into a new apartment and because we both don’t make a lot of money, we put a price limit on our Christmas gifts, nothing more than $50. I got him The Mighty Ducks and Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD, which are two of his favorite movies, plus a nice coffee grinder. John got me what he calls the Documentary Survival Starter Gift Set which includes 4 documentaries on DVD and a book plus he has offered to be my producer. The DVDs are Trouble the Water, Babies, Young at Heart, and Barak and the book is Making Documentary Films and Videos: A Practical Guide to Planning, Filming, and Editing Documentaries by Barry Hampe. It was a really great gift. He even wrote in the cover of the book “To Sarah, my love, producer, and best friend, always remember that my time with you has been more entertaining and exciting than any movie ever made.” I got a little gushy when I read that.

I’m feeling pretty good about this and my new diet of documentary watching. I can do this and it’s going to be awesome.

The decision

The semester is over and I think I’m going to make it to 2011 alive. I’ve been working like crazy (as stated in previous posts) and it’s nice to see an end in site. However something happened: The Webmaster / Marketing / PR guy at the Radio-TV-Film department is leaving his position. It’s sad for the department because he was part of the RTF family but it presents an interesting opportunity for me. I have been asked to fill his position as interim until they find a replacement. Now I can of course do this job and have accepted the temporary position but the question is, should I actually apply for the permanent position. I’m really happy with my three jobs at the moment. All three are in the film industry and give me the freedom to work outside the jobs but can be crazy. On any given day I’m bouncing around the city to at least 2 jobs and I don’t have a car. These jobs don’t offer me any stability or benefits. This webmaster/PR job would offer me more money and benefits but it isn’t necessarily a job that I aspire to do. I know I would be good at it but do I want to?

What should I do: Keep me 3 jobs which are chaotic, don’t pay me that much, but I genuinely enjoy doing them or do I apply and take this new job which would be more money, benefits, stability but isn’t really something I want to do? The grown up in me says I should take the stable, higher-paying desk job but the young, free-spirit in me is telling me not to settle.

First Contact

On a whim, I facebook messaged Magda Sayeg (aka Knitta of www.knittaplease.com) and she actually responded! She’s in Buenos Aires at the moment but gave me her assistant’s email and instructions to set up a meeting time. Hell yeah! She’s kind of a rock star to me. I spent a couple of hours getting every internet article in which she’s been featured and printing them out. I didn’t realize how big this movement really was. It was impossible to read them all in one sitting. At least now I have something to read while I’m home, or at the bus stop, or need break from editing.

Magda has some interesting projects coming up this spring. She’s teaching a knitting class at the Griffin School, the high school that dreams are made of. Most of her work is elsewhere, very little is in Austin. She recently knit some stuff for the ACL music festival and had some other work up during the East Austin Studios Tour (EAST). There’s also a gigt coming up for the Blanton Art Museum. I’m hoping that I will be able to travel with her to her next locales, like Rome, Argentina, and New York. Oh yeah, one more thing. This knitta Queen Bee and I are having our first sit down next week!