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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, as is normal I suppose, 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, note I say “decent,” not good or professional, and decided to go ahead and audition for The Nutcracker. I didn’t expect to get much of a role from the audition, maybe a Snowflake or Party Guest, but I guess Casa Grande must have been desperate. Not only did I get a role as a Snowflake, but also the role as the Dew Drop Fairy– a solo-ish type position. I danced alongside a few younger girls, but with my own solo conincided. Aside from the Suguarplum 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 very rarely do. I was beyond thrilled that I even got into the show, let alone an important role! I didn’t tell my parents immediately, and though I know they supported me mentally, I knew they wouldn’t have been as happy as I was, which was completely fine. To my dad, ballet was a “silly hobby” that I would never have a successful occupation with– yes, he’s the realist in my family.

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, immediately stopping 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? What an idiot!

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 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; it was just something on my mind. 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 ūüėāūüėā

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 ūüĎć

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 na√Įve¬†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 ūüôā 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

College Life: Dating

1491344006820Filming the Pinal County Fair was a great experience! I’m almost done with post-production, it’s going by much quicker than I had anticipated, and once done, I’ll be posting it on YouTube under my channel, GEL Studios.

With the time consumed in these projects and school, I’ve recently realized that I haven’t been paying attention to things that I’ve before thought significant. One of which being, yes, boys.

I don’t mean to say that I was obsessed with guys or dating, but it was certainly on my mind. I’d been on a few dates before coming to college, mostly with those I’d known for a long time in my hometown, but coming¬†to EAC¬†and only recognizing the names of a handful of people was a totally different experience. I had to learn to adapt to my surroundings through the compromise of bad experiences. Though I’m not sure if sharing these experiences will help what people think of me, I can assure you that I really don’t mind embarrassing myself.

Mistake #1: “Group dates are unnecessary.”

I think it was the second month of my first semester when I decided to ask someone on a date. I talked to the guy only a few times in passing, but I didn’t think it would be too hard to start up a conversation if we went on a date. He seemed talkative enough. Unfortunately, that idea blew up in my face within the first five minutes of the night; sitting in an already quiet restaurant with only the occasional “How’s your food?” was not what I would consider exciting. My brain just seemed to turn to mush, answering with only a few “mhm’s” and “yeah’s” to his questions. I think at one point I even said “spaghetti” when he asked how my day was… from across the table I swore he asked what I ordered. Since that date, I haven’t heard from him. It’s safe to say that¬†he probably died from my awkwardness.

Thankfully I had much more enjoyable experiences with my past boyfriend. We went on several double-dates that both us and the other couples loved. The motto “the more, the merrier” has never been so real. I think I’ll put it as my new Instagram bio.

#2: “I have enough time to put into a relationship.”

This was probably one of my more constant thoughts. Before college, I hadn’t been in an “official” relationship. I was simply too busy. In college, I felt that almost everyone had a boyfriend, or at least a close-to-one. At first, this annoyed me, but after a few weeks, I decided that I too could be in a relationship. After all, my classes were only a few hours a day, so I could put that extra time into a boyfriend.

I had been on a few dates with a particular gentleman that I found I was really starting to like. He was sweet, courteous, and really the perfect boyfriend material. After our fifth date, we decided that we should be an exclusive couple. For the first month and a half, it was great! I had a blast meeting his family, having dinner together, and meeting up before and after classes.

Unfortunately, while in the relationship, I realized that my work in school was starting to¬†slack. From forgetting to turn in projects between other assignments and flat out never¬†studying, I knew my grades were suffering. I felt a horrible guilt for pushing away my boyfriend in order to try to catch up, and in doing so, I began to realize that, no, I didn’t have time for a relationship. I broke it off rather suddenly, but on a good note.

I haven’t been on another date, but on a happier (not to boast) note, I’m still at a 4.0 GPA. *thumbs up*

#3: “College guys are so much different from high school boys!”

Ha. The cliche of the year! Of course, I can’t speak for every college guy, but I can honestly say that 50% of the people I’ve met while at Eastern and Central Arizona College act just like high school students.

It’s not purposeful, but I think my personality might lead guys to think that I am flirting with them when in all actuality I’m just being friendly. Over the last few weeks, I had three guys trying to message me on Facebook and Instagram, to which I ignored; not because I’m being rude (well, maybe just a little), but on top of the fact that I’m not interested in dating anyone, all three of them have bluntly stated that they “have girlfriends” to my face. I never asked if they had one, so did they say this just to make it seem like they are more¬†attractive¬†than not? I have no idea. Not sure if the tactic worked on other females they’ve talked to, but it definitely didn’t for me.

I feel bad for their girlfriends, whether or not they exist.

Alas, this didn’t only happen in college. Flashback to junior high and high school where I knew several people like this. Girls and guys were equally guilty for this bizarre scheme, and though it didn’t happen to me personally¬†before college, I could count¬†on two hands the amount of times it happened to people I knew.

I wish people could discern the difference between being friendly and flirting. It’s sad, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I will no longer initiate conversations with guys; I don’t want them getting the wrong idea.

Overall, I’m happy to say that I am single and probably will be for a long time. If asked on a date, unless by someone I can honestly say I enjoy talking to, I won’t feel bad saying “no, thank you.” (Sorry, mom. I know you want me to be social and date haha.) Until my schooling is done, or almost done, I have no intention of boyfriend hunting. *shrugs shoulders* I have too much I want to do before settling in a relationship!

-Savannah Griffin

Filming Pinal County Fair

Day one of filming at the county fair is almost done! *phew* For those who didn’t know, I wanted to film a fun, short doc of the PCJL organization¬†¬†(Pinal County Junior Livestock) as a resume booster. And fun it has been, but with the obvious problems that almost every filmmaker encounters.

Problem #1: Left my house empty-handed of the mic kit.

I got to the fair, batteries charged and SD cards formatted, and started pulling out my equipment when I realized I had forgotten the microphones. The funny thing is, I had told myself the night before to not leave them. Of course, I did.

Problem #2: Noise and Lighting

Going along with my first issue, even if I did have my mics and wanted to use sound, as much background noise as there was, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pick up anything. I’ll just have to put music over the video to fill in the empty space. (I’m open to song suggestions!) Also, because the arenas are covered under the barn, the shadows were absolutely horrible. I’ll have to go into serious color correcting mode in post-production.

Problem #3: Permission Miscommunication

Four weeks before, I had texted one of our family friends who is a committee chair hancho to see how I could get permission to film. He said it would be fine because the barn and arenas had already gotten permission from exhibitors and parents to take pictures and whatnot, but he’d ask the committee for their blessing just in case. Well, like an idiot, I was under the impression that once I’d gotten their okay, I would be able to film wherever under the barn, including inside the arenas.

That being said, I climbed into the show arena and started filming. I even met an awesome guy who was there doing pictures for the newspaper and exhibitors, and, low and behold, was supposed to act in one of my classmate’s western short films that next Saturday. Small world. Anywho, after filming both the goat and steer shows with this guy, I got called over to the arena stand and was asked if I was “supposed to be there.” Uh oh. I tried to bring up Danny’s, the family friend’s, name to refresh their memory that I had gotten permission to film for the fair, but they were just as confused as I was.

Unfortunately, I ended up being kicked out of the ring in the middle of a show in front of everyone. Talk about embarrassment. On the upper note, I had already gotten most of the footage I will probably use in editing, so it was a win-lose situation. I guess it kind of turned into a win-lose-lose situation though after Danny got phone calls asking if he’d given me permission to film inside the arena. Danny, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for getting you in trouble!

Well, I think that pretty much summed up my idiotic moment for the week, unless something worse happens before Saturday. Haha ūüôā

Thanks for reading!

-Savannah Griffin