It goes without saying: I have never been on a television show before and have never been involved in a film. Of all my talents, acting has never been something I have explored. Luckily for Artisan Air I didn’t need to act, I only needed to show up as my full self and share my art and writing with the world.
But it’s terrifying!
But filming your first show is also exhilarating.
I thought through how I wanted to convey my creative work. Should I focus on a single area? Discuss all three? Would that be confusing?
In my episode I had a gallery showing where people came to see my work and asked me questions about how and why I made it. For this reason, I decided to bring examples of my work from all three of my areas of interest in my creative practice: mental health, literacy, and conservation.
I had to drive from Shreveport Louisiana to Austin Texas for my week of filming, and I was off to a terrible start right off the bat.
After four hours of driving, an hour out from Austin, I got a message from my husband.
“Hey uh… I just noticed this… but do you need your service dress uniform?”
I thought to myself… no. I packed so carefully… there is no way. I spent weeks planning outfits and had multiple looks in case of indoor versus outdoor filming… weather… my service dress uniform was meticulously put together and packed in its garment bag…
I pulled over to the shoulder on an empty backroad in Texas, got out and went to the trunk of my car… and no. There was no service dress neatly packed on top of all my other clothes.
I went and sat back in the driver’s seat. And I screamed. For like… a good five minutes. I then typed capitalized gibberish letter number combinations on my phone to the hubs, too mad to articulate words. Then screamed some more, just for good measure.
Understanding what I was trying to say, he replied “Do you want me to drive and meet you halfway??”
I did math. Two hours back towards Louisiana… I had already driven four… that is six… plus the three hours to go back towards Austin… no. The Air Force has rules about this, about how many hours a day you can drive (it has rules about everything). So… I texted him I would get back to the house at about 10:30PM, turned the car around, and headed home.
This put me in a time crunch because filming started the next day. To say I was stressed was an understatement… this was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was not going to ruin my opportunity by forgetting something needed for filming and then showing up late. I got up before the sun rose the following morning and aggressively made my way to Austin. I got there with twenty minutes to spare, changed, and made my way to our first set to get my initial interviews filmed.
Lights… Camera… Action!
Did you know things are not filmed in order? Because I had no idea, and it was fascinating to see how the team would film a part here, a piece there, and then wove all the scenes together into a comprehensive whole. I have a new appreciation for actors because I have no idea how they keep all the scenes clear in their mind without a beginning-middle-end flow. It’s incredible.
Working with MontaVega Media was an incredible experience, and I was blown away by their talent and their professionalism. Showing up as a creative in my capacity as an Air Force officer did make me nervous – I wanted to put my best foot forward and represent well. I am proud to have a commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. I am a Major now and have dedicated fourteen years of my life to serving my country to the best of my abilities. I don’t know anyone who pursues this profession without great care in their heart, because it requires a lot of sacrifice.
I wanted to share both my creative practice and the gratitude I feel for the opportunities the Air Force has afforded me. Even though I had a very challenging time at the Air Force Academy, my time on active duty has been incredible. I have met the most amazing people – many of them creatives too, even if they don’t admit it.
Filming was a lot of fun overall and I was glad to learn about where to look while the camera was rolling, how to think through my answers to questions, how to navigate bloopers and how to present myself as a professional creative. The best part was when it came time for my gallery show to begin!