Going Out

The weekend started Friday by working on the story structure for EOE until 3:30 am.  The next morning came much too early and was followed with more progress on EOE.  With all of this work, I have been neglecting from my leisure time and haven’t stopped to smell the roses.   Saturday night I decided to take a break from editing and I went out.  I didn’t “go out” in the way that you may think.  “Going out”, to many people means going to the bars.  “Going  out” to me means venturing out into the world to experience something great.  The traditional expectations of going out seem boring to me.  I don’t like limiting my experience based on what’s popular or easy to do.  Whether it’s a bar or simply walking down the street, going out is an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of each moment in a setting outside of your house.

I took a drive around town just to see what was happening, to see what I wanted to do while I was out.  Living life means opening your self up to the spontaneity that it may bring.  Saturday night it brought me to the University of Wyoming campus.  It was freezing, the wind was blowing, and I was completely exhausted from the last few months of editing and shooting.  That wasn’t what was on my mind though.  The moon was low in the sky, spilling perfectly balanced light onto the symbolic Bucking Horse bronze sculpture of Wyoming.  I found my experience for the night.  At first I just looked at the scene and then decided to take a few photos to share the experience with others.  Here are a few shots of “going out” this weekend.  For me, it was incredible.  It gave me a well-needed break and reminded me that simply opening your eyes to the everyday beauty of living can be the inspiration that can’t be found anywhere else.

Mark


Energy and Politics

If you’re anything like me, all those lovely pictures of a snowy Park City in that last post distracted you. Winter in the West can be rough, and it can definitely cause some chaos around town… especially a ski town hosting one of the largest independent film festivals and celebrating the first good dump in FOREVER. But, for those of you that made it past the slideshow and read those last few sentences, you know that Mark had an interview with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. So lets pick up where Mark left off, on the issue of politics. Well, politics and energy.

The day I’m writing this is not only the day Mark had the interview, but it also happens to be the day of the State of the Union Address. If you watched it, you will have noticed that about 15 minutes were devoted to the discussion of the future of our nation’s energy. I guess this whole energy thing is a pretty big deal…  According to our President, it’s one of the 5 biggest issues facing the United States right now. But let’s put the ultimate future of America and the human race aside for a second and ask a more simple question: How political do you think the issue of energy is? Are there sides? Do your political opinions influence the type of energy production you support? In an earlier post Mark replied to the criticism that he was “green” or an environmentalist (re: liberal) because he rides his bike. After getting to know Mark, you would soon realize that he rides because he loves it and couldn’t care less about what political stereotype is attached to pedaling a bicycle.  It’s funny how political lines can get drawn anywhere, even the type of transportation you choose. (For the record, I know lots of liberals that drive big honkin’ trucks for one reason or another; I also know a staunch Republican that drives a hybrid.) So, are solar panels Democratic? Is natural gas Republican?

Mark has approached this movie with what I consider to be a devout stance of neutrality. But that brings me back to my point; his neutrality towards favoring one type of energy resource has by default required him to detach himself from the political spectrum. I for one am extremely interested to hear what Governor Mead (R) has to say about energy in Wyoming. Maybe Mark can chime in here and talk about his interview… or maybe you’ll just have to wait and see it in the film.

Marty

Tired, sleep deprived, and inspired at Sundance Film Festival

These three words can sum up this weekend.  Tired, sleep deprived, and inspired.  Despite the predicted record snowstorm, Carrie and I still decided to make the drive to Park City, UT for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  Everything that was predicted, was delivered, and then some.  The snow came in huge wet flakes that covered the bustling town of Park City.  Along with the excitement of extra 50,000 people in town for the festival, the snow made sure that our car got stuck at least 4 times.  The films also lived up to the ongoing hype of Sundance.  We had the opportunity to see the premieres for two films including Bones Brigade, which I have been looking forward to seeing ever since it was announced as in production.  This was skateboard and filmmaker legend, Stacy Peralta’s newest film.  I actually fell into the opportunity to ask Stacy a question about passion and filmmaking during a morning Q&A session.  That’s a whole other entry though.  The other film we saw was Declaration of War.  The weather was so bad that the director couldn’t even make it in for her own premiere.

Of all of the celebrities wandering about, I found my highlight of the weekend.  I had to opportunity to talk face to face with Glen Friedman.  If you don’t know who Glen is, a quick Google search should do the trick.  Basically, he is one of the most influential photographers of the last 30 years.  His roots are in the early skateboard and music scene of Southern California.  I’ve been looking at his photos in magazines since I was little and to get the opportunity to meet him was incredible.  Once again, that is a complete other entry for another day.  Rather than talking all day about the festival, I’ve decided to just show you some pictures.

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This Tuesday I’ll be headed to Cheyenne, WY to interview Governor Matt Mead for Energy! O Energy!  Check back for details on what he says about energy in Wyoming.

What’s in a story?

I have been hitting the editing pretty hard these last few weeks, maybe a little harder than I should.  Between the stack of hard drives to my left and the server to my right, I would say that if megabytes were Big Macs, I could feed the entire country for a year.  The amount of footage is irrelevant though.  The story that is emerging is what’s important.

On these long days that consistently drift into even longer nights of editing, I’ve found myself pondering the idea of a story.  What is it about a story that makes us so attracted to it?  There are so many exciting things happening every second of our lives, but every now and then, we choose to tune it all out and tune into a story.  Whether it’s a book, a film, or someone telling it to us, a story has the power to show an aspect of life that often goes unnoticed.  A story conveys truth.
At the root of every story is truth; the truth of human experience, the truth of emotion, the truth of life.  This is what brings us back, time and time again.  Life can be overwhelming, and as a result, one can become numb to the everyday experience.  Stories are where we run to replenish our soul of human experience.   This is what makes the “story” one of the greatest tools ever utilized by humans.  Even something as powerful as fire or electricity can’t reach the level that a story can.  Fire, electricity, and steel are all tools of a physical world.  A story is a tool of the mind.  As powerful as these energy producing machines that I have been studying are, they can’t do what a story does.

So as I sit here in front of the video footage of the last six months of my life, I am wondering what my story will be.   A director has a unique responsibility.  It’s the responsibility of creating a story for the world to experience, creating something for people to believe in.  It’s the responsibility of creating truth.

Where has Marty been? Catching up with the other mind of EOE

Mark is lucky. While it’s true that the topic of energy has completely consumed his life for the past year, at least he put himself there voluntarily.  I’m a different story. Every day at my job as an energy consultant I’m surrounded by discussions of energy, and then I come home, get on the phone, and talk to Mark about it for a few hours more. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated by the subject, but I just felt it necessary to start off the post by trying to rouse a little pity. Didn’t work? You still think Mark gets less sleep than me? Yeah, you’re probably right. And what’s crazier is that he probably does think about energy more than me, and he’s not even getting paid for it!

It’s been a while since I posted – my last full contribution was the post about Mark’s energy storage problem on his ride. And I know ever since that post all of the devoted fans of this blog have had a little thought in the back of their minds: Hey when are we going to hear from that Marty guy again? I can’t blame you. In that post I hope you had a chance to appreciate just how hilarious and clever Mark’s co-writer is. No? Jokes about mini-nuclear reactors aren’t that funny? Fine. You’re probably right. And actually, that’s exactly the point I want to make. No, not the fact that I’m not as funny as I think I am (though that is ego-breakingly true). The problem is that the subject of energysometimes just isn’t that interesting to people that don’t deal with it on a daily basis.

Marty smiles big for the camera

As mentioned in my introductory post, one of the main things I do at my job is perform energy assessments on buildings. I spend a lot of time during the workday analyzing energy use in commercial buildings. And as I’ve dealt with various projects I’ve come across some interesting situations… Well at least I find them interesting. The thing is, not everyone does; sometimes not even the people that I think probably should.

 

For example: It’s so odd how a wild party just dies when I start talking about the decision for Boulder, CO to start the process of switching to a municipally-owned electrical utility. Ok, no, I don’t talk about energy on every Saturday night. But, even when I’m having lunch with a few friends that live in Boulder, if I try and throw that issue into the conversation, it’s met with stares and possibly eye-rolls. And these are the very people that I believe should care the most because it is going to directly affect them. I understand that at first glance the topic may seem very dry, but there are so many points to discuss and debate. And what’s more, it’s an issue that directly affects the citizens of the town, and the future of their electricity supply. But as I write those last five words I catch myself and think, “the truth is, not everyone finds the ‘future of their electricity supply’ all that fascinating.”

And really that’s fine. That’s one of the things that makes people, people. We all have our own lives, thoughts, curiosities and passions to keep us busy.  But, what if we are overlooking one of the more determining factors on how we live our lives? The world is full of things that you never stop to really take a look at, and then one day something finally catches your eye. And from that day on, you care.  It doesn’t matter what side of the argument you choose or if you choose not to argue at all.  What matters is that something has pulled you in and now you care.  How can you make decisions about something that you don’t care about?  Would you act differently if you did care?

–Marty

 

***Editor’s Note-  Marty was originally introduced in a previous post as having “pursued” a degree in Architectural engineering.  The word “pursued” makes it sound like he tried it out one day.  This couldn’t be more misrepresenting.  Marty holds a BS degree in Architectural engineering and has been working at the forefront of the energy efficiency and assessment industry ever since. Just so you know that we didn’t just pull a random guy off the street 🙂

 

 

It’s not work

If you’ve ever wondered what the mind behind Burning Torch Productions thinks, this is for you.

With Energy! O Energy! in production and more projects on the burner, I’ve been working more hours per day than I care to keep track of.  When you’re self-employed, keeping track of your hours is depressing.  When it’s all said and done, the film is only about 90 minutes long, but the hours leading up to its completion will easily exceed 3000 hours.   Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  Do you think I’m crazy?  I don’t blame you.  Let’s look at the math.

1 feature length movie running time= 90-110 minutes.

Hours committed to making the movie estimate= 3000 hours.

3000 hours = 125 days = 1/3 of a year.

*This is for a film that’s only 2/3 complete.

Now you’re probably saying, “That’s impossible!”  But it’s not, and here’s why.

When I’m working on a film, I become completely consumed and passionate in the production.  Every thought in my head is somehow connected back to what I’m working on. In order to explore a topic, it must be looked at from every possible angle.  The number of ways to explore a topic is infinite.  Does this mean you shouldn’t try?  Of course not. It just means that you’ll never run out of studying.

So in other words, making a film is a full timejob, literally.  If I’m not spending my waking hours filming, editing, or producing, I’m thinking about the film in every part of my life and then dreaming about it at night (dreams weren’t included in the estimate above).Film is the creation of reality, which makes the human experience the ultimate guide to filmmaking.  Film is the magic of watching realty unfold in front of our eyes.  Even fictional films convey realty.  At the heart of a film is emotion and the emotion is real, even if the story that evokes it is made up.  Every second of every day is an opportunity to expand.  It can be as little as seeing something in the grocery store and writing it down on the back of my receipt.  It could be a conversation with a loved one.  The possibilitiesare infinite.  Nothing goes unnoticed.Actual deskwork may last from 8 to 6 or 7 or 8 or 9, but the deskwork is only a tiny part of the work that goes into making a film.  I don’t make 8am to 6pm films.  It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I can’t.  I can’t take on a film and just forget about it at quitting time.   I don’t leave work at work.  I can’t leave work at work because to me, it’s not work; it’s my life.Some people might call it being obsessive. Others might argue that it’s not a healthy lifestyle.   Call me insane.  Tell me it’s impossible and that it won’t last.  Say that it’s not worth it.  Try to change me.  It won’t work, because like I said before, it’s not work, it’s my life.

Mark