Last year, I was at a bar in New York City talking shop with a few other actors and artists from my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We were talking about creating our own work and brainstorming on ways we could collaborate together. I soon found out about the 48-hour Disability Film Challenge. It was created to encourage artists with disabilities to collaborate with each other and other working artists without disabilities to make fun and engaging short films. I went back to the UNC-G folks I was talking with at the bar and pitched the idea that we should work on making a film for this challenge. We did. It was a fun experience and we created a silly romantic comedy called The Kerfuffle.
This year I reached out to the guys I worked with the year before to “get the band back together.” We all agreed we wanted to do the film challenge again and I paid the registration but a few weeks before the challenge our band began to fall apart. Unforeseen conflicts led the filmmakers on the team to back out; I was left with just me, someone to help write and some donated camera gear. I don’t have the skill set to film or edit anything. How was I going to make this work?
I thought about giving up. I began to listen to that voice in my head telling me that it was a lost cause, that I did not have the time or resources to do it this year. After several restless nights, I reluctantly reached out to my sister-in-law since she went to film school, but that voice kept saying “why would she want to do this?” “I’m sure she would not want to do a crazy 48-hour challenge.”
Well, she did want to help and we were able to bring in a few additional people to contribute to the project. We made a film, a film that I was very proud of, a film that won “Best Film” in this year’s Disability Film Challenge. You can watch Lefty & Loosey here:
My performance and speaking work is centered on reminding people that we all will face challenges but it is our choice to not let those challenges and obstacles define who we are. This process reminds me that it is always a constant battle and I am always in need of a reminder to keep moving forward. Our fear and insecurity will always get in our way and it takes real courage to continue to move forward into the unknown toward our dreams and goals.
Let’s remember to always move forward; sometimes the path is going to need a detour but as long as we keep moving we will find our way back to our journey.