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Short Story: The Greeter

This was one of the stories I wrote for a college class. It has yet to be edited, so I’ll post the edited version later. (:

In a faraway village there lived a freckled-face girl. She wasn’t particularly extraordinary. She had a family, a home, a garden. She was satisfied with life. The village was her home, and no matter how many times the older neighbor boys teased about her carrot hair, she meant every word when she said she’d never leave.

It was only a day later that the silhouetted stranger on horseback appeared. No one knew who he was, where he came from. However, the girl called him by name.

“Why hello, Death,” she said with a half-smile.

Death lowered his head draped behind a black hood. “Hello.”

The girl was alone in her garden, plucking the small weeds threatening to choke her potato plants. She wiped her hands on her white apron. “What are you doing all the way out here? Memphis is still a few hours ride north.”

“I’m not going to Memphis,” Death responded carefully, lowering himself down from the saddle of his black steed. The horse pawed the ground, anxious.

He stepped toward her.

She didn’t move.

“Well, I can put on the tea if you’d like–” she began.

“No. No tea,” he interrupted. He noticed brown streaks of what were once trails of tears across her pale cheeks. “Why have you been crying?”

The girl released a deep breath, and trying to appear strong, swallowed. “Father forgot…” her face sagged unsuccessfully like crumpled wrapping paper. “Father forgot,” she tried again, “to kiss me goodbye.”

Death snorted. “Aren’t you a bit old…” he paused upon seeing her lip tremble. Humans confused him; although he never had a father, he couldn’t imagine wanting to love someone. Instead of continuing, he pointed to her apron. “You smudged dirt on the front of your dress.”

She looked down and sighed. Where she had wiped her hands was a perfect line of black earth. “What a pity. This was my new apron.”

“Where is your father?” Death asked.

The girl opened her mouth to speak, but paused. “He just left for town. He won’t be back for some time. What business do you have with him?”

“It’s a personal matter,” Death said.

“I’m his daughter. He tells me everything.”

A curious smirk lined the mouth of Death. “Are you sure about that, little one? Everything?”

The girl was offended. “Little? I’ll have you know I’m the tallest in my school class. Or at least one of the tallest. I’m taller than Emma-Lou!”

Death held up his hands in defense. “My apology. I didn’t mean to make you mad. Compared to me you are very little, though.”

The girl huffed and changed the subject. “Will you come and sit with me? I’d love the company. My mother is off at the market with James.”

“James?” Death asked, allowing the girl to lead him toward the door of the humble wooden house.

“My younger brother. He is only two.”

“I see.”

The girl sighed. “Are you sure you’re not on your way to Memphis? There’s not much here. Father may not want to see you.”

“Unfortunately, my business cannot wait,” Death said a bit quietly. “I’ll be on my way to Memphis soon enough.”

The girl’s eyes sparkled and she looked up at him, now only a few inches away. “Really? Well, when you do get there, can you tell Cousin Robert hello for me? I miss him.”
Death nodded. “I shall. I believe I may have business with him, too.”

They reached the front door and the girl twisted the knob. Inside was a perfectly cozy home with perfect seating, perfect beds, and a perfect fireplace. Though he said he hadn’t wanted any, the girl poured her guest tea and set the glasses at the table. When returning the kettle to the fire, the girl’s shoulders slumped.

“Are you here to take my father?”

Death sipped his tea, and looked up at her from behind the porcelain cup. “On the contrary.”

The girl looked beyond Death. She saw something, but he hadn’t a clue what. Nothing could, or should, scare Death, but her piercing eyes, smiling with a disbelief of mystery, chilled whatever human was left of him.

A few minutes later with the girl who had strangely gone silent, the rumble of a wooden carriage trembled over loose pebbles outside. The child, expecting her mother and younger brother, stood casually from her seat next to the fire and went to the door to greet them. However, her stained face turned bright when instead she caught glimpse of her father stepping down from his cart.

“Papa!” she yelled happily, rushing out to meet him. They had only been parted a few minutes, but to Death, it seemed that they hadn’t seen each other in a lifetime. The older man, dressed in a well-worn shirt and overalls, held out his arms as the child smashed into his chest. With a painful laugh, the daughter wiped forgotten tears from her eyes. “You didn’t kiss me goodbye.”

“Yes, my sun,” he said kneeling next to her, an even larger grin plastered to his lips. With an apologetic crinkle under his eyes, he touched her damp face. No bullets had hit him so hard than his daughter’s tears. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

The daughter sniffed, and without hesitation, forgave him.

The father, not taking away his grasp on the daughter, finally noticed the guest in black who had curiously made his way to the doorway. His eyes fell back to the girl nervously.

“Oh,” she said, remembering her manners, “we have a guest. He wanted to talk to you, Father.”

“Where is your mother? And James?” His tone frightened her slightly.

“At the market buying medicine.”

His face relaxed a little. “Good.” There was a moment of silence as the father heaved himself back up to his feet. “Now, go put away the horse while I talk to our… guest.”

“But, won’t you still be going to town? Mother says you still need–”

“I’m afraid my journey has been delayed,” he spoke softly, but sternly. “The horse. Go.”

Death watched in amazement as the girl obeyed without second thought. She led the white gelding away, only looking back once. Her eyes scorched Death with the same mystery he had told himself to forget. She didn’t see him. She saw something else, something that, and he thought he had gone crazy, made her smile.

Her gaze left only when she disappeared behind the wall. Death relaxed and watched as the father weakly scraped his boots through the dirt toward him. Though it was appropriate to say that he looked like his daughter physically, Death knew instantly that the older man did not share her courage—or perhaps it was insanity.

The man wobbled uneasily on his feet. Death didn’t move as he attempted to squeeze by in the doorway, very aware of the danger he was in. Stories about accidentally touching Death were not unfamiliar to the village. With a smirk, the father finally succeeded and sat in the chair next to the fireplace.

He motioned Death over.

“You must know why I’m here,” Death spoke, stepping purposely on a squeaky floorboard. It was the only flaw he had discovered in the home.

“Yes,” the man whispered, as if admitting to a sin. “I looked in the mirror for the first time in five years yesterday. My own father died younger. But I have a family. Two children under ten years old. How will my wife survive?”

Death stared at the porcelain cup the girl had offered him, only half empty on the table. He would have tried to drink the rest if it hadn’t gone cold. “I’m not here for you.”

But, perhaps it would have been better that he’d taken him instead.

The father’s eyes grew wide. “No. No.” He shook his head slowly at first, a pendulum of a grandfather clock, before it grew more chaotic and fearsome that Death was sure it would fall off. “No, you can’t take my princess.” He laughed as if Death had recited a bad joke. “No. No.”

For a paranoid moment, Death felt completely human. Grotesque compassion flickered through his fingers and began to thread up his wrists. In a rush, the figure shook out his arms, almost afraid. The tangled string broke when it reached Death’s elbow and slowly fell back through the floorboards of the home.

The father understandably hadn’t noticed.

“Please,” he begged with a stare that wasn’t quite as frightening as his daughter’s. “Don’t take my princess. She is my sun. My moon. My everything.” No longer considering the speculation that he’d disperse into a pile of ash, he reached over and grabbed Death’s cloak. “She is getting better. The doctor said so. He said she’d gotten over the worst of it. She—she’s perfectly fine.”

Death couldn’t help the next question that spilled from his mouth. “Would you take her place?”

He half expected the man to shake away in uncertainty. It was human nature to coward from the unknown, death being the greatest unknown of all. He had witnessed this same fear in every living being just before he claimed their soul, but while one half of him expected the same to occur with the father, the other half wasn’t so sure.

He was still surprised.

“Yes,” said the man, standing quickly. “Yes, I will take her place. She still has a future. I have lived a life; a damn good one, too.”

The door opened and both gentlemen turned. With a heavy water bucket tugged in both hands, the little girl returned with a happy smile. “Papa, I fetched some water for you to clean up.” She turned to Death. “You can also tidy up if you’d like.”

Fate was cruel and unpredictable; Death knew this better than anyone. He had finally found a perfect family, and yet he was here to tear it apart. What if—if only he could—he didn’t?

With a sopping skirt, the daughter put the bucket down and made her way over. Death watched helplessly as the father’s chest began to quake. Up, up, down, up, up. An unnatural rhythm. His chin also quivered, but unless she chose to ignore it, the girl didn’t seem to notice. She wrapped her tiny arms around the father’s waist, not nearly reaching his back. The father only stared.

“What’s wrong, papa?” she whispered into his shirt.

A small squeak left Papa’s throat. His eyes began to redden with moisture, and when he squeezed them shut, deafening tears trickled down the side of his nose, hitting the innocent child on the top of the head. She knew then that he was crying, but she didn’t dare look up in case she also broke. She wanted to be strong for him.

In slow torture, the father’s arms at his side lifted up, and with a sudden burst flew around the child beneath him. He clung to her dress, protecting her from everything and nothing. He fell to his knees, face to face with his first born. His moon. His stars. His face was well beyond wet with memories and a future they would never see together. He loved her. And she knew it.

Twenty years later, the little girl would only remember a father who turned around to kiss her goodbye.

He cupped his daughter’s face with one hand, kissing her forehead softly, before reaching out to Death with the other.

Death decided he always wanted a father.

 

 

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College Life: Serving a Mission

I’m a little more than halfway done with my degree at Eastern Arizona College. With that in mind, I have absolutely no idea what I want to do or where I want to go once I get it. I’m going to apply for the USC Film School to finish off my Bachelor’s and possible Master’s Degree next year, but with an acceptance rate of only 16% and an out of state tuition of $50,000+ a semester, I have no idea how that is going to turn out. I obviously want to pursue an occupation in Hollywood, or at least an organization associated with such, but I’m going to have to take a serious leap of faith. For this reason alone, I’m depending more on my Heavenly Father than ever before.

I’m not going to flat out say that I’ve always been dependent on God, especially this last year of college, but after a few key incidences that had me on my knees at least three times a day, I’ve come to note how much he really does bless me. I’ve made a few promises with him, one of which was to always be his servant. About a year ago I told everyone that I was going to serve a mission– that didn’t happen. At first I thought that I’d go on one before getting my Associate’s, but now that I’m almost done with it, I decided that I’d wait until 2018. My family keeps asking when I’ll go, or if I will, to which I say (perhaps a bit annoyed) “YES.” I am going, and I think Heavenly Father has provided that opportunity next summer.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to make some big sacrifices before leaving. First of all, I’d miss out on opportunities of Warner Bros/Hollywood internships. The ones I wished to be a part of are taking place next summer, in which the participants should have graduated with an Associate’s that same month. Next, before deciding on my mission, I had planned on entering the Hollywood Pitch Festival: a gathering where you go to sell your film/TV scripts to major cooperations such as ABC, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, etc. It would have cost $500 to attend and pitch my stories, but if my script(s) was admired by any one company, I could have sold the rights to it for over $100k. That wouldn’t have only helped with a university tuition, but secure a place in Hollywood for my ideas. However, I know Heavenly Father wants me to go on a mission, so I’m putting all my trust in Him.

When I was younger, maybe twelve or thirteen, I asked my mom a question. At the time, I was in a situation where every “oldest” sibling I knew in different families had drifted away from the church. I, also being the oldest child in my family, was worried that I too would eventually fall from being LDS.

“Do you think I’ll go to church when I’m older?”

I explained to my mom my concern, and she reassured me. “It’s the choices you make now that determine how you will be in five, ten, or twenty years.”

As a twelve year old, I didn’t tell myself I’d go on a mission– in fact, I was only concerned about going to college. However, I did make the decision then that I’d always trust in Heavenly Father, and that He’d be the first person I wanted to impress. I kept Him in the back of my mind everyday, and my testimony only grew. I’m not entirely sure why a mission wasn’t first priority over school, but I went to EAC right after deciding that I would eventually serve as a missionary, though I had no idea when.

I’m excited to see how I am to help others receive the gospel. I know I haven’t been the best example as of lately, specifically trying to get myself up off my as$ to go to church or refraining from using language that I’m sure would upset my parents, but last night I made the commitment to start reading my scriptures again. I even went out and bought a small journal (but to be honest I’m not sure how long I’ll keep up with journaling). I’m grateful for my parents, friends, roommates, and family, and especially thankful for the testimonies of my grandparents. They are the epitome of selfless serving and putting Christ first.

Well, that’s about all for now. I’ll keep my blog updated with any other news!

 

-Savannah Griffin

My Inspiration

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to be a part of my county’s The Nutcracker. For years, I had dreamed of performing in the ballet, particularly as one of the soloists on pointe. (For those who have no idea what “pointe” is, that’s just the general term used to describe destroying your feet while dancing on the very tips of your toes. For some odd reason, I love it.) I remember when my mom first signed me up for dance classes, I had to have been four or five, I wanted to be a ballerina like the older girls I saw dancing en pointe in the classroom beside mine.

Anyway, skip to eleven years later, I finally got my first pair of pointe shoes. I wasn’t all that good at it, but I practiced for hours on hours every day. My parents didn’t pay for lessons, so I got a job at the dance studio to pay specifically for the hobby (which is seriously so expensive. People think football is costly? Try buying a pair of $90 shoes every three weeks, with an additional $50 a week lessons. And that’s not including replacing all the ripped leos, tights, ribbons, elastics, etc. Blah.)

I managed to get decent at dance, and decided to go ahead and audition for The Nutcracker. I didn’t expect to earn much of a role from the audition, maybe a Snowflake or Party Guest. However, not only did I get a role as a Snowflake, but also the role as the Dew Drop Fairy– a solo position. I danced alongside a few younger girls, but with my own solo conincided. Aside from the Sugarplum Fairy and Clara, I was the only one to dance alone.

I was so happy when I got the email that I started crying, which is something I don’t often do. I was beyond thrilled that I even got into the show, let alone an important role!

My happiness and joy at being chosen for the roles was beyond description. I walked into 9pm rehearsals every night with as much of a positive attitude as I could manage. Finally, something good had come out of sticking to my goals.

Unfortunately, my happiness didn’t last all that long. I knew only a few other ballerinas at my studio, but we were never super competitive with each other because we were all on the same level, same classes. The Nutcracker, however, was a completely different story. We were in a big competition, trying to show off as much as we could. We wanted to be the best. I loved working for my roles, but I was slowly getting glimpses of how ugly competition could be. Girls, whether they mean to or not, are not the nicest in the ballet world. Whenever someone made a mistake, such as turning the wrong way or tripping, little whispers and giggles would erupt. I was in the front lines during the Snowflake dance, with nine other girls behind me, and during our first on-stage rehearsal, I lead the line in a wrong direction which immediately stopped the dance. I have no idea if it was the nerves of being on the stage or just simply forgetting, but I was embarrassed. More than embarrassed, I was angry. Why… how could I have forgotten that small move?

Up until then, I always believed self criticism was the best, and worst, punishment. However, as I readjusted the ballet line for another attempt at the dance, my mind almost collapsed with the whispered words, “She has no idea what she’s doing. What is she doing here?”

The girl behind me, clearly annoyed with my lack of effort, was livid, and with good reason. What was I doing there? She was right: I had no idea what I was doing. I was in way over my head. I brushed off her words as best as I could and finished the rehearsal without another failure. I didn’t want them to affect my performance, however poor it already was.

I thought I was doing better– at least I was leading the right way– but after my rehearsal as the Dew Drop Fairy, I grew angry with myself all over again.

“What happened to the girl who played the Dew Drop Fairy last year? She was perfect.”

“I think she went off to SAB. She wanted to train at an actual academy.”

“Yeah, she was the perfect Dew Drop.”

I doubt the words were there to criticize my own abilities, but it still hurt nevertheless. The conversation between two other girls happened right after my practice solo, and I decided then that I would never live up to the expectations of a perfect ballerina.

After all this went down, I drove the thirty minutes home disappointed. I wanted to be happy again, proud of myself, but doubts clouded my head. I already knew I wasn’t a particularly beautiful dancer, but to have been pushed into a corner with confirmation hurt nonetheless. Ballet was everything to me! My thoughts flashed back to the memories of my first lesson, looking at the older girls through a stained window as they danced. I thought they were beautiful.

When The Nutcracker opening night came along, I was worried. What if I screwed up again? What if I lead my group the wrong way and caused a collision? What if…

Whether it was fate playing a trick on me or karma, something bad did happen, and right during my solo. Finishing an Attitude turn, my pointe shoe’s elastic suddenly broke, throwing the shoe across the stage in a very loud, very noticeable manner. I still cringe every time I think about the performance. I continued dancing, one foot attached to a shoe and the other turning on bare toes, and when I finished, I hurried offstage without a word to anyone. I ran to the unoccupied backstage restroom and locked myself in a stall. My breathing was rigid and my heart was beating up my throat. The audience’s small chuckle from the incident replayed in my head over and over. What a fool.

I only emerged from my dungeon when someone ordered for curtain call. Still morbidly embarrassed, I avoided everyone I could and pretended that nothing was wrong. Thankfully, I had a few good friends, one of which who played the Nutcracker. I stuck next to him before and after the curtain call, happy that I wouldn’t have to face anyone else.

When my family finally came up to congratulate me with a bitter lie of “Well done!” I was more than ready to leave the stage for good. However, I was stopped by a mother and her young daughter. The daughter, who I later learned was only three, hid behind her mother as the mother explained that she wanted to take a picture. The little girl stepped out from behind her leg shyly, smiling at me. The mother looked down at her.

“Look, [daughter’s name], it’s the professional ballerina!”

I almost burst into tears right there. The girl, who had seen me fail but had still asked her mom to take a picture with me, slowly walked up and took my hand. I lead her to the front of the stage while the mom snapped our photo. When we were finished, the young daughter told me she wanted to be a ballerina, too.

Okay, so this story wasn’t meant to be an “Oh, poor Savannah” pity-party, or a tale to point the “People are so mean!” finger. That little girl, who saw past what I thought was the impossible to look past, continues to be my main inspiration for life. Happiness is often overlooked by today’s society: just a simple word of encouragement can motivate people to keep going. I still love dance, and probably will for the rest of my life (or at least until all of my toes break). I want to give that motivation to other people, and maybe one day be someone else’s inspiration.

 

-Savannah Griffin

Behind NY

I was finally able to check off one of my bigger bucketlist moments last week… New York was amazing! The scenes and places my mom and I visited were stunning, and to be honest, I can’t wait to go back. It was ironic, because the locals we talked to either hated NYC or absolutely loved it. No in-between. Coming home, I lean more on the “loved it” spectrum than the previous, but I could see how that may change if I were to be a permanent resident.

When the plane first pulled up to JFK Airport, I actually began wondering what would happen if I moved into an apartment or dorm in NY. After all, Julliard and NYU (one of the universities I was accepted to after high school) were there, and I could have found a job and whatnot, but then I remembered that I liked having my own personal space. The city was definitely not known for large, empty areas.

As much as I loved visiting, I also knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the living costs as a student (seriously, who pays $23 a MEAL?) no matter where/if I got a job. If I save enough money, perhaps I’ll transfer there next year? Hm. Exciting thought. (That’s to say if I’m not accepted to USC Film School which is probably 10x more expensive lol.)

I’ve been applying like crazy to a bunch of retail shops in Thatcher/Safford in hopes of securing a job this summer, but so far Bealls Outlet is the only one accepting applications. I submitted my application and almost immediately afterward went to the store in person to talk to the hiring manager. He seemed friendly enough, but I still won’t hear back from the district for a few days *thumbs down*

Other than saving up for a University transfer, I also need to build some cash to buy new filming equipment: lighting, camera(s), stablizers, droid footage, etc. etc. All these will probably run up to $7,000+ (at least for the best versions). I’m really regretting spending my fair money in High School on lunches 😂😂

Well, I’ll keep the blog updated on how my job seeking goes. If nothing, I’ll resort to washing cars and doing yard work *unenthusiastic “yay”*

Also, if anyone needs something filmed or photographed, keep in contact with me or my website @ Gelstudios.org!! Or email gelstudiosinfo@gmail.com 👍

Thanks!

-Savannah Griffin

The Greeter

I’m on the search for some dedicated actors willing to be a part of my short film I plan on starting this summer. This is a more “serious” topic of film, but I think it would make a great entry into festivals and competitions. Here is the rough draft of the script’s beginning (don’t worry, it get’s happier by the end haha):

***

INT. Night- Sage’s Bedroom

The room is dark, though a tinted blue light illuminates the front of SAGE’s t-shirt. She is looking out through a large window on the second story of the house, carrying a single suitcase in her left hand.

There is a an open bottle of prescription pills at her bedside table. Everything is absolutely silent except for the distant sound of a clock ticking.

PAN O.S.:

Camera pans over Sage’s shoulder to see a man dressed in black, frozen in the street outside the house. He is staring up at the window. Camera view switches to her face, which is completely emotionless, and then back to the window where the man is gone.

CUT TO:

1/3rd shot of her face. The focus pulls to the door behind her as it begins to creak open. Sage still doesn’t move. We continue to hear the clock ticking.

One.

Two.

Three.

The focus on the door pulls back to her face.

SAGE: (still emotionless)

You’re late.

Camera shoots to black shoes stepping through the doorway and stopping. The black dressed man comes into the room.

PAN UP to the man’s tall, shadowed figure.

The light is still only on Sage and her luggage.

SAGE:

I’ve spent a year waiting for you… (pause, with an angry change in her face. She spits out the next word) …Death.

DEATH: (trying to suppress his surprise)

You know who I am.

W.S. of room with Death on the left and Sage on the right

SAGE:

I know why you’re here. And I’m ready. I even packed a few things.

Sage lifts her arm with the suitcase and shrugs it back down, as if to exaggerate her idea of the journey. Death is leans backwards, but just enough to tell that he is uncomfortable.

SAGE:

It’s only a few things–

DEATH:

You shouldn’t have called me.

The clock ticks.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

SAGE: (moving her head, with sarcasm)

Yeah, well that’s up for negotiation.

DEATH: (a bit angry and annoyed)

…You shouldn’t be talking to me. Other people wouldn’t.

SAGE: (scoffing)

That’s the biggest problem with the world isn’t it: assuming that we’re all the same. That we’re just one big pile of unoriginals with all the same shit thoughts.

DEATH: (flustered, he lifts up one of his hands)

How can you possibly–

With a shake of his head, Death attempts to abandon the girl, quickly stepping out of the room. The entire house is dark and empty, with only a few artifacts of broken glass, lonely cans of unfinished beer, and littered garbage. Still, Sage follows right behind him, tugging her suitcase along.

SAGE:

This world sucks. I mean, I don’t know how much better the after-life will be, but it has to be better than this.

DEATH:

This isn’t–

SAGE:

People are always saying that I need to pull it together. That I’m not like everyone else.

Death and Sage are nearing the front door of the empty house.

SAGE: (continuing)

I don’t fit in.

DEATH: (spinning around)

Stop following me. You’re not going anywhere.

SAGE: (she pauses to swallow, blinking a few times)

…What? You’re Death. You can’t just… let me go.

DEATH: (lightly shouting)

What do you think this is? Some kind of vacation?

There’s a deafening silence after his question. Even the clock has ceased its rhythmic ticking. Death holds his breath.

Then, in the meekest of voices, Sage speaks up.

SAGE:

…Yes.

***

Okay, so just as a disclaimer, this is a rough draft. The final product won’t nearly be this dark, but it’s just a heads-up for interested actors. If you or someone you know is interested, message me or contact me via my website at GELStudios.org. Thanks!

College Life: Out of Life

Savannah, what do you want out of life?

Possibly the toughest question I’ve ever been asked, and I suck at math.

Well, what do I want out of life?

How do I even answer this? I can pull out and read the ‘ol Pinterest bucketlist, but I don’t think that will get me very far. I mean, you can only travel the world so many times before you have to stop and wonder how it’s made you a better person.

I wish there was an “oh, never mind” backspace button that I could hit after trying out something that didn’t particularly make me a better me. Unfortunately, there’s not, and we all have to learn to deal with mistakes. Mistakes help us learn, right? Well, I for one absolutely hate messing up, especially if it has anything to do with my future.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I want my future life to be. Being young and naïve was absolutely amazing; all I worried about was growing up and being an adult. Newsflash, younger me: growing into an adult was the worst decision I ever made.

Of course, I have the big dreams of one day getting married, having a family, living in a small house, writing my own films, getting rich, upgrading the house to a castle, owning a private mountain, ya-da-ya-da etc etc…. I mean, what person doesn’t? Haha 🙂 But in all seriousness, I don’t see any of those physical things happening any time soon, and I don’t really want them to! Right now, I want to focus on pulling myself together and finding out who I really am and what I’m doing.

Are my dreams too unreachable? Too unrealistic? Will I disappoint my future self for not living up to them? What can I do now to secure those goals, but in the process, grow my own character? If you know me, you would probably know I have standards. By coming to college, it’s been a difficult challenge applying those standards to everything I do. I’m independent; I live in an apartment away from home; I’m almost full-on adult-ing. In that frame of mind, I tell myself I can do whatever I want without consequence. Of course, there are consequences though I may not sense them right away, and even if people don’t see me.

Let me be clear, I don’t do anything that would automatically draw me to be a “bad person,” or even a “non-respectable human,” but the fact is, is that I am no less a hypocrite. I need to start living what I believe, and stop questioning myself and my standards. Obviously, working on this trait is a definite goal for my life.

Hand-in-hand with working on my own moral characteristics, I also began wondering what I wanted out of my future career. Why did I choose Media Communications as a major? After I asked this question, I told myself that I wanted to make movies and other videos because I enjoyed doing it. Of course I do– actually, I love it, just as every videographer should, but I realized this this might not be the absolute reason behind wanting to be a producer. No, the main reason took coaxing time for me to admit:

I wanted to be successful.

Being an LDS member (Mormon) my entire life, I was taught to put others needs above my own. I needed to be selfless and giving, instead of attempting to take and steal for my own satisfaction. Growing up, I shifted this idea around a bit and decided that I liked being selfish… to an extent. I always listened to those who needed or wanted something, but if it contrasted with my own success, I more than not would find someone else to take my place. I don’t blame my parents at all for “teaching me wrong,” they being the epitome of selfless-serving; I did this all on my own. It was my choice.

Anyways, a few weeks ago, I started realizing that my ideas for my future and who I wanted to be were in great conflict with what I had been taught in my childhood: I shouldn’t seek for the world’s attention; I shouldn’t be selfish; I should get married and start a family; I should learn to be dependent on others.

But all these ideas I wanted to live, all these plans that I thought Heavenly Father would want me to follow, I wasn’t doing. I was putting myself above everything. As result, I had a mental breakdown to my parents over the phone. I despised myself for not partaking their lessons and choosing to be selfless. I honestly thought that I had jeopardized any chance I had at receiving eternal happiness because of my decisions.

Then, my mom inturrupted me. She told me that Heavenly Father would never not want me to be successful. Later, she and my dad went on to say that being successful was one of their main goals for my sibling and I. My mom then asked if I still trusted that Heavenly Father has prepared a path for me, to which I say, “Of course.” And then, I realized something.

I never once wanted someone else to be unsuccessful, and if I couldn’t help them, I found someone that could. Being selfish every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. In fact, in one of my favorite novels, The Fountainhead, the protagonist is criticized for being selfish and putting his creativity above others. Later on, the people who dispised his selfish success try to change him and his work to accommodate their own wants, proving hypocrisy. It’s sad, but if you don’t put yourself first, your kindness may be taken advantage of.

I still want to help people, and I still want to give, but from now on, I won’t be too hard on myself for taking a little in return. I still have a few thing to work on, particularly with the idea of seeking physical things, but because I’ve recognized the importance of staying true to myself, I don’t think that it will be as hard for me to change.

So, instead of answering, “I have no idea” to the question asked in the beginning of this post, I can now confidently say,

I want to be the best me.

-Savannah Griffin

GEL Studios

Exciting news! Today, I finally got around to making my company official… as of right now, GEL Studios is up for business! The icon above is licensed, so I no loner have to worry about copyright infringements.

I received a few questions asking how I chose “GEL Studios” as my title, and I guess I have Professor Cashetta to thank for the idea. Back in my first semester at college, he named one of my groups “LEG” because each letter was the last initial of the three members. Of course, I didn’t particularly like this nick-name, so decided to flip it backwards and call us GEL instead (pronounced like jello, but without the o). The name just kind of stuck, even when the two others dropped out of the major and I was the only one left.

There aren’t any other official members of GEL Studios at the moment, but I do have a few people helping with a ton of editing which I’ll credit in each of the videos I publish. I just finished filming a documentary on Hunter Sullivan and Jett Skousen, both cancer survivors under the age of 12. Their stories, though emotional, are beautiful; I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made as a team and I can’t wait to post it here after post-production.

On a quick side note, I finished the Pinal County Fair video, but for some reason after I rendered it, the coloring went crazy so I have to go back through DaVinci and fix it up. Ugh.

I also just created my first ever photoshoot invoice. Though I specialize mostly in videography, shooting the Eastern Arizona College students was a blast. Such a fun group! If I get permission from the school, I’ll post a few of them after they’ve been edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Well, this was just a quick update. I’m glad that these opportunities keep arising, and I hope they don’t stop! Haha, thanks everyone, and keep a look out for a new website dedicated to GEL Studios!

-Savannah Griffin