“Energy! O Energy!” is off to the Film Festivals

Great news!  EOE is screening on June 17th in Palmerston North, New Zealand at the 2013 Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival.  Along side Energy! O Energy!, award winning films such as If a Tree Falls and Fall and Winter will also be screened.  Check out the rest of this year’s selections here.  It’s an honor to be included in such an incredible program.  Congratulations to all of the films selected. Reel Earth 2013_Official Selection (1)

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

Thanks

It’s that time of the year. Everyone is traveling, spending time with family, and busy with the holidays. Burning Torch Productions would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and say thanks for all of your support. We have been traveling a bit ourselves, about 3000 miles so far. Carrie and I have traveled by train, bus, and car in our most recent adventure to the Pacific Northwest. Everything is finally starting to make sense. Having a large amount of the filming done, I have decided to dedicate a number of blogs to writing about the people who I have met on my travels. The list spans from energy industry workers to drifters on the street. There is an entire story alone about the people I have encountered. Make sure to check back to get a glimpse into the lives of some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and stay warm! Here’s a picture that hopefully brings a chuckle to your day. Whoever said making movies couldn’t be fun?

Mark jumps on down to Phoenix with Carrie

Pondering in the Mist

The trip to the Northwest has been well worth it.  It has been enlightening, humbling, and inspirational.  Between the huge change in scenery, the interviews with Bonneville Power Administration, and stumbling across more power plants than I’ve ever seen, I have finally found some answers. What is the best energy?  Well, I have definitely come a long ways since I first asked this question.  I have traveled coast to coast, through rain forests, deserts, canyons, and mountain passes.  I’ve traveled by foot, bike, train, bus, car, truck, four wheeler, and plane.  Now that I’ve journeyed over 8000 miles, it’s time to make sense of everything.  The next few months are going to be busy editing interviews and piecing together the puzzle with Marty Pool.  As much as I want to tell everyone what I’ve learned, I have to wait until the film is finished.  As the footage unfolds, Marty and I will be blogging to keep the conversation going.  We will also be blogging about whatever we feel is relevant to Energy! O Energy!  I will be on the road for another 2 and a half weeks gathering footage. I’ll leave you witha few photos of the last two days.  If you’re just joining us, check out some video clips from the first bike ride through Wyoming to explore energy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCjbccG7c8

Happy trails.

Portland Pictures

We’ve made it to Portland and haven’t stopped shooting since we’ve arrived.  The nice thing about traveling to make a movie is that you enter each location with a fresh perspective.  Even the most beautiful landscapes can become boring if you see it everyday.  The change of scenery from Wyoming to Oregon has allowed me to capture the surroundings with a new eye.  The key to getting this perspective is to notice the small things and build with it.  Every moment is different in its own way.  The challenge of making films is making harmony out of those moments; all 29.9 per second.  One of the things that the Northwest far surpasses Wyoming with is water.  Check out our photo blog to see how I’m capturing this idea of water and how a society can be built around it, including energy production in the form of hydro power plants.

http://livingthedream.aminus3.com/